Events & Presentations

Presentation: From Outlaws to Inlaws: An Emotional History of Same-Sex Marriage

Date(s) - 20/09/2019
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm

UPDATE: this presentation has been RESCHEDULED for September 20th, 2019.

Most people think of same-sex marriage as a recent issue, but lesbian and gay couples have been staging their own wedding ceremonies since at least the 1920s.

On September 20th, from 5:30-6:30pm, join Elise Chenier, professor at Simon Fraser University, for From Outlaws to Inlaws: An Emotional History of Same-Sex Marriage. In this evening presentation, Chenier draws on oral and archival records to explore the diverse meanings weddings and marriage has had for lesbian and gay couples. While the political debate amongst LGBTQ2+ people over the marriage equality movement’s “normalizing” tendencies frames this discussion, Chenier focuses on the affective, emotional and psychic aspects of queering this iconic heterosexual ritual.

This talk will be of interest to anyone who enjoys learning about thinking historically, about the LGBTQ2+ experience, and about weddings in general, and is appropriate for people of all ages. This presentation is inclusive of the experiences of people of colour.

No registration is required. Suggested entry fee: $2.  Please arrive about 15 minutes ahead of the start time, through either the Commercial Street or Gordon Street doors.

Elise Chenier is a Professor in the Department of History at Simon Fraser University where she has taught since 2004. She is the founder and director of the Archives of Lesbian Oral Testimony (, an online, open access project dedicated to preserving and making widely available queer women and lesbian experience. She conducted her first oral history interview in 1990 with a woman who nursed on the front lines during World War One and has been hooked ever since. Her article Rethinking Class in Lesbian Bar Culture: Living “The Gay Life” in Toronto, 1955-1965 uses interviews she conducted in the 1990s for her first major oral history study. A copy of this article is available upon request (

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