Welcome to the first biography! This video will be covering the life and accomplishments of Edythe Eyde, also known as Lisa Ben, the creator of the first lesbian magazine.
Let’s start at the beginning; Eyde was born November 7, 1921 in San Francisco. She grew up on an apricot farm.
In 1944 she became a secretary for a war dog training center in California. There, she wrote, on her office typewriter, the first lesbian magazine, Vice Visra. She began the magazine to find other lesbians.
She wrote about local events, about her thoughts and feelings about being gay, and other stories and poems.
She used the pen name Lisa Ben as a play on lesbian. Her first pen name idea was Ima Spinster, but that was shut down by those who helped her publish the magazine.
Edye didn’t start Vice Versa with the intent on making history, but she created something revolutionary. Her magazine allowed lesibans to not only find each other, but also helped them visualize a brighter future.
She wrote about a greater future where being gay wouldn’t be strange, something no one had written down before.
She wrote freely and without thought of the consequences. She wrote; “Whether the unsympathetic majority approves or not, it looks as though the third sex is here to stay.
With the advancement of psychiatry and related subjects, the world is becoming more and more aware that there are those in our midst who feel no attraction for the opposite sex.
It is not an uncommon sight to observe mannishly attired women or even those dressed in more feminine garb strolling along the street hand-in-hand or even arm-in-arm, in an attitude which certainly would seem to indicate far more than mere friendliness.
Homosexuality is becoming a less and less taboo subject, and although still considered by the general public as contemptible, or treated with derision, I venture to predict that there will be a time in the future when gay folk will be accepted as part of regular society.
Just as certain subjects, once considered unfit for discussion now are used as themes in many of our motion pictures, I believe that the time will come when, say, Stephen Gordon, will step unrestrained from the pages of Radclyffe Hall’s admirable novel, Well of Loneliness, onto the silver screen and once precedent has been broken by one such motion picture others will be sure to follow.
Perhaps even “Vice Versa” might be the forerunner of better magazines dedicated to the third sex, which in some future time might take their rightful place on the newsstands beside other publications to be available openly and without restriction to those who wish to read them.
In these days of frozen foods, motion picture palaces, compact apartments, modern innovations and female independence, there is no reason why a woman would have to look to a man for food and shelter in return for raising his children and keeping his house in order unless she really wants to.
Never before have circumstances and conditions been so suitable for those of lesbian tendencies.”
That was from volume one number four of Vica Versa, written in 1947. 1947.
Mind you, this was a time where being homosexual (the most common phrasing of the time) was a crime. When men could be arrested just for holding hands in public. Where being even suspected of being gay could end careers and lives.
This is when women could be arrested just for looking like they were wearing men’s clothing. When gay bars were frequently raided by the police. When queers were often killed just for being who they were.
She wrote these words for anyone to see, to read. She encouraged queers to think this way, to think “it will get better”.
Eyde wasn’t just a good writer, she was also a musician. She frequently wrote and sang gay’d up paradoies of popular songs of the time at gay bars.
She also wrote science fantasy stories before writing Vica Versa.
A versatile and amazing woman, Edythe Eyde brought together lesbians physically and mentally, giving them ideas to work for and people to work together with.
You can learn more about Eyde and Vica Versa through the links in the description.
Thank you so much for watching, and I hope you stick around to watch more! You can see more biographies on our website, queerbiographies.com. Bye!