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Lesbian News publisher Ella Matthes has died at 81

Author: Trudy Ring

Ella Matthes, the longtime publisher and editor of Lesbian News Magazine, died March 16 at a hospital in Norwalk, Calif. She was 81 years old, and the cause was a heart attack, according to a press release.

She ran Lesbian News Magazine, commonly known as the LN, from 1994 until 2022. The LN was North America’s longest-running lesbian publication. When it was founded in 1975 in Southern California by Jinx Beer, it was the lone voice for lesbian issues (The Ladder, published by the Daughters of Bilitis, had ceased publication three years earlier) and evolved throughout the years under Matthes’s leadership. The press release calls it “the nation’s foremost voice for lesbians of all ages.” It carried cover stories on Melissa Etheridge, k.d. lang, Ellen DeGeneres, Marlee Matlin, Hillary Clinton, Toni Braxton, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Judith Light, Janet McTeer, and more.

Matthes, a native of Los Angeles, bought a printing company, Superior Printers, when she was in her 20s, and ran it for several decades. However, she wanted to support lesbians and iacrease their visibility, so in 1994, she bought Lesbian News Magazine from Deborah Bergman, who had acquired it from Beers.

This was her mission statement: “The editorial vision of the LN has always been to inform, entertain, and be of service to women who love women of all ages, economic class, and color. We hope women from all walks of life will not only find something of themselves in the LN, but also be accepting of those with differing opinions. Lesbian News is our small contribution to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender liberation movement.”

She received several awards for her work, including the 2002 Women’s Night Gay & Lesbian Center’s Lesbian & Bisexual Women Active in Community Empowerment Award, the 2002 Business Alliance of Los Angeles Community Involvement Award, the 2003 Southern California Women for Understanding Community Service Award, and the 2012 Vox Femina Los Angeles Aria Award.

Matthes and Gladi Adams had been together for 26 years and were married July 13, 2013. Matthes’s survivors include Adams and a brother, Carl Matthes.

Memorial donations in her name may be made to the June Mazer Archives in West Hollywood.

Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Trudy Ring

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