Femme Friday – Edythe Eyde (1921-2015), editor, author, activist, science-fiction fangirl, and songwriter

Edythe Eyde, or Lisa Ben, her pen name when she later wrote for The Ladder (her second choice; they wouldn’t let her use Ima Spinster!), wrote about plays, movies and more, and provided her own poems in Vice Versa, which is thought to be the first lesbian publication in the U.S., and perhaps even in the world. She used carbon copies from her desk job and brought out the first issue 1947. She would distribute the copies to as many gay gals as possible, asking them to pass them on after they were done.

I can’t find anywhere where she actually comes right out and says, “I identify as femme,” but here is an excerpt from a 1995 interview with Eric Marcus, about her introduction to gay girl life in L.A.:

The next week or so they took me down to a gay bar called the If Club. When we all walked in there, why, someone was bringing a birthday cake to one of the booths. There were some girls sitting there, and they were all singing happy birthday. I looked around me, and tears came to my eyes–partly because of the cigarette smoke and I thought, How wonderful that all these girls can be together. Of course, we called them girls at that time.

The girls could dance together there. I started dancing with one or the other of them who would come over and ask me. I never asked them. They asked me because I was obviously feminine. I had my hair long and I wore jewelry. I didn’t look like a gay gal. I didn’t have the close-cropped hair and the tailored look that was so prevalent in those days. I didn’t do any of that jazz because I just didn’t feel like it. And I was darned if I was going to do it just because everybody else did. I’m a girl and I’ve always been a girl. The only difference is I like girls.

Deep Gratitude to Edythe Eyde, for her proto-zine appropriation of office space and supplies to connect dykes with one another, for her excellent sense of humor, her love of pussies (she had 15 at one point), her love of lesbians, and her generosity of queer spirit. Thankfully, there’s a lot about her on the internet, including interviews and clips of her singing. I started here:


Every Friday, I showcase a queer femme goddess. I want to feature you! Write to me at thetotalfemme@gmail.com and let me shine a spotlight on your beautiful, unique, femme story! If you’ve written a femme story or poem or song, oh, please let me post it! New Femme Friday feature starting fall 2018: Books from which queer femmes can draw inspiration. What are your trusted sources of light and love? Please share!

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”)



Published in: on June 21, 2019 at 12:01 AM  Leave a Comment  
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