Say yes to the dress(es)?: An exploration of gender performance in lesbian weddings
LE3 .A278 2016
Bachelor of Arts
On July 20th 2005, Canada passed the Civil Marriage Act which allowed same-sex couples to be married. As weddings and wedding traditions are historically a ritualistic celebration of heterosexuality, this thesis is a qualitative exploration of how lesbian couples are able to negotiate the boundaries of gender performance within this context. Through in-depth interviews with three Canadian lesbian couples, themes such as family, religion, and tradition emerged concerning the meaning of wedding rituals. The results showed a multiplicity of ways lesbians interact with gender and tradition. While some aspects of the respondents’ weddings demonstrated a clear reflection of heterosexual weddings, there were also elements of reinterpretation of and deviation from tradition. I posit that when the respondents performed gender in a way to replicate heterosexual tradition, it was essential to ensure authenticity as outlined by McQueeny (2003). This authenticity is important because it legitimizes lesbian relationships, and furthermore lesbian sexuality and identity. Additionally, the presence of family and friends throughout the wedding process was an integral way to assure this legitimacy, and this presence relied on the authenticity of the ceremony.
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