Exhibit Number

10

Image Credits:

Chetcuti, J. C. (2009). Queer Mediterranean Memories - penetrating the secret history and silence of gay and lesbian disguise in the Maltese archipelago. Australia: Lygon Street Legal Services.

Mock weddings have long been part and parcel of the gay subculture. In the UK, they were staged mostly at molly houses. They were often embroiled in controversy and scandal, with police hounding and arresting gay men.


But Rabat's mock weddings were part and parcel of mainstream Carnival revelry, attracting the interest and admiration of villagers and the participation of straight men. They were not a gay phenomenon. Few participants were (or were believed to be) homosexual. Still, they afforded men a unique opportunity live out their desire for glamour, defy gender roles and challenge the prevailing social and sexual order around the institution of marriage.


In 1958, Rabat played host to a curious wedding. Carnival Sunday that year, a little after midday, a young blushing bride (Mary Rose) decked in a satin and lace dress stepped out of her family home in College Street. Neighbours gathered in front of their doors. Other leaned from balconies.


Women gasped for breath at the sight of the beautiful gown and the femininity of the bride. Few had looked so regal and feminine on their wedding day! There were wide grins on the faces of the men and children as the blushing bide brushed past them towards the convertible outside her home.


The wedding party travelled through Saqqajja, Ħamrun and Blata l-Bajda, then headed right for Raħal Ġdid for a photo session. The party returned to Rabat to the applause of villagers waiting outside the Isle Adam band club.


Villagers accompanied the happy couple and showered them with sweets and rice. The band played slow ballroom music and some rock n roll. Many guests attended the reception in costume. At 6pm the bride returned home to put on her going away dress.


This was no ordinary wedding. The bride was no other than Charles Agius.

Chetcuti, J. C. (2009). Queer Mediterranean Memories - penetrating the secret history and silence of gay and lesbian disguise in the Maltese archipelago. Australia: Lygon Street Legal Services.

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