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Lesbian Separatist Alix Dobkin Changes Tune

6-23-2010- Written by Rachel Wahba

Lez Talk with Rachel-

Okay now I have seen it all: The infamous Lesbian Separatist Alix Dobkin loves boys! As long as they are her grandsons that is.  Singer songwriter Dobkin (‘Lavender Jane Loves Women,’) is quoted in the June issue of Curve magazine saying:

“I have two grandsons who I love more than anything in the world, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love women and put women first—I do.”

I was transported back to one highly charged issue of  “Dyke Quarterly,” published in the mid-seventies.

An entire issue was devoted to skewering Olivia Records for hiring (unknowingly I might add, because I was there) a pre-op male to female trans lesbian feminist —- imagine, that this inflexible perception, an ill conceived ideal in the first place, was devoted to ‘delegitimizing’ and attempting to destroy a groundbreaking lesbian feminist record company with it sole purpose of making lesbians visible in a fiercely male dominated industry.  Dobkin’s connection to this issue was influential.

This was especially hurtful and destructive coming from one of the founding mothers of womens’ music, famous for her “devotion” to women.  Yes that meant having to deny the sons of women; the banning of all penis bearing infants, toddlers and children from festivals and the like was strictly enforced.

Instead of supporting one of her own, the hatred fueled by what I can only refer to as envy disguised as righteous indignation, was one of the many episodes in the history of Olivia Records and the times.

Now to see Alix ever so proudly loving her penis-endowed grandchildren is a cause to celebrate. Everything changes! Perhaps little boys will no longer be banished (if that is still the case) from the Michigan Womyns Music Festival.

I remember those days and my relief that because my baby girl was penis free we were not lesbian persona no grata, unless we risked shunning overalls for skirts and dresses.  Unfortunately I am not exaggerating. Boys were taboo. I admit there was a moment in history where separatism served its purpose for many of us for a moment in time— until we regained our sense of self as strong/liberated lesbians.

Olivia Records with feminism as its guiding principle was suddenly made into the enemy. Under the guise of preserving Lesbian Feminism a barrage of rhetoric from Dobkin polarized the lesbian community and it took its toll.

It was demoralizing, invalidating, time consuming, and hurt the small collective of  lesbians, dedicated to Feminism, instilled by Olivia Records, while earning close to nothing simply for the love of women and commitment to providing women with community.

So here we are today, Olivia has morphed into Olivia Travel, taking tens of  thousands of lesbians on vacations with week long lesbian entertainment of music and comedy, a unique experience.

So Lavender Jane loves now loves HER boys. How sweet it is to see love transcend dogma. Too bad it took 36 years to get here.

By Rachel Wahba
Columnist for Lezgetreal

Additional Information: Refernces:

Read more about Alix Dobkins – There is a great deal more to her than her feeble attempts at invalidating OLIVIA…


In the 1970s Liza Cowan was the host of Electra Rewired, a late night talk show on WBAI-FM in New York City. She interviewed Maya Angelou, Yoko Ono, Germaine Greer, as well as local feminist and Lesbian activists. She also produced the live music series, The WBAI Free Music Store. While she was working as a radio producer she met and fell in love with Alix Dobkin, a folksinger who went on to produce the first all Lesbian record album, Lavender Jane Loves Women. Cowan and Dobkin were partners for six years.

While she and Dobkin were together, Cowan published and edited DYKE, A Quarterly, a cultural theory magazine. Her business and editorial partner was Penny House. DYKE lasted for three years, publishing two long issues per year. Considered both beautiful and contriversial, DYKE Magazine published articles on Lesbian Separatism, Lesbian Fashion, Dykes Behind Bars, as well as producing theme issues, like the Ethnic Dykes issue and the proposed but never realized issue on Lesbian Cartoons.


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ALIX NEEDED  to ADD a Page for Rumor Control to her website Quote:

Rumor Control

“Alix is a man-hater”

Nonsense! Some of my best friends are men. I certainly have strong opinions about men’s violence, men’s dominance, men’s politics, male institutions, male hierarchies and penis-centered culture (don’t you?), but man-hating is irrelevant in my life.

“Alix is against transexuals”

No way! I look to transexuals to break new ground and not to reinforce conventional gender stereotypes.

“Alix hurts little boys by excluding them from women-only space”

On the contrary, I treasure all children and hate to see any child spoiled by mistreatment and neglect, or misguided by ignorance and disrespect. Teaching little boys universal entitlement and teaching little girls that they have no right to privacy is ignorant and disrespectful.

“Alix believes that women-only space is sacred space”

True.

“Alix performs only for women”

False. I often appear before mixed audiences.

“Alix loves all Lesbians but doesn’t like some Lesbians”

True.

“Alix wants her work to have meaning for everyone”

True.

“Alix is ‘Politically Correct’”

I certainly hope so, and so should you hope to be politically enlightened and untrendy!

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12 Responses to Lesbian Separatist Alix Dobkin Changes Tune

  1. liza

    November 6, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    The DYKE, A Quarterly annotated archive is now online. I haven’t put up issue #5 yet – that is the issue in question – but I will get there. The minutiae of getting each article scanned, uploaded, and annotated with links and commentary takes quite some time, but issues #1 and # are now available. I hope that readers and staff of Les Get Real will enjoy reading the website. Thank you.
    Liza Cowan

    • liza

      November 6, 2010 at 1:00 pm

      Oh, and the link is http:www.dykeaquarterly.com

  2. rachel wahba

    October 16, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    rubbish rubbish rubbish. i know how olivia suffered and was taken to task in a horrible way for hiring a male to female transgender human being. the magazine dyke quarterly went to great lengths to prove their point about the horror of hiring this m to f lesbian. all it takes is to check out the magazine, which by the way, i still have! 
    it was shameful and disgusting and yes, alix was involved in the persecution of olivia records. ugh.

  3. Liza

    June 24, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Your assertion that DYKE, A Quarterly was “Dobkin driven” is absurd. I assure you that the content, style and design of the magazine was completely conceived by me and my partner Penny House.

    While most of your readers might not care, I think it would serve you well to back up your claims with some kind of evidence. Otherwise, you are just spreading rumors, which is why Alix, and no doubt others, need “rumor control.”

    DYKE, A Quarterly will be available online in the near future. It has been acquisitioned by The Museum Of Modern Art in New York City, and it’s online debut will take place soon after the papers are settled in their new home.

  4. Scarlett

    June 24, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Love the historic backdrop you offered to this piece despite the reminder of the suffering. At Body Republic we support a mission toward ending the suffering through the connection and promotion of one another and our work….writing, art, music, mothering, grandmothering….Insightful and an enjoyable read. Thank you.

  5. Liza

    June 23, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    I wrote and published DYKE A Quarterly. There was one rather small article about Olivia records and their decision to hire a transsexual.

    I don’t understand the point of reprinting the quote about me. What is your point?

    Your assessment of Alix is ill conceived and your argument is too silly to actually argue with.

    • Melanie Nathan

      June 24, 2010 at 2:07 am

      As Senior editor we loved this article by Rachel as it talks about a time in lesbian history and reflects the fact that Alix now has male grand children – which some mothers and grandmothers from that time find interesting and even more interesting , certainly to me as a lesbian parent, is the strange odd quote.
      ““I have two grandsons who I love more than anything in the world, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love women and put women first—I do.” from Curve Magazine. – Fair Game…. Your quotes were interesting because you as per your admission, happened to publish the Olivia story which OLIVIA found harmful and disturbing at the time.

      The history reflects discrimination and antagonism within our community that is now trying to transcend what your magazines such as yours found important to write about.. People learn from their own mistakes and even more from the mistakes of others…. I believe that as Iconic as Alix may appear – no one in the upcoming equality generation know who she is anymore and for that matter you as well- as much good as you all did given your context – I like that Rachel is using history to exemplify how discrimination amongst ourselves can come back to haunt…. we want our current quest for equality to be all inclusive and so therein lies the importance –

      history=lessons.

      I invite you to provide a copy of the Quarterly which declare irrelevant so we can republish what was written on LGR and let our 268,000 plus – per month readers judge for themselves.

    • Melanie Nathan

      June 24, 2010 at 1:03 pm

      Liza, While you suggest that what Rachel says re Alix is ill conceived, – Rachel gave ALIX a voice by quoting what ALIX calls “Rumor Control.” The fact that Alix finds the need for rumor Control indicates, whether true or not, that these points are perceptions by many more people than just Rachel- which then in fact serves to legitimate Rachel’s voice on the topic., point further to any comments by ALIX on the topic at anytime, relevant; especially that she is touted with such historic reverence in the early lesbian movement.
      \

  6. Bridgette P. LaVictoire

    June 23, 2010 at 7:59 am

    “Some of my best friends are men.”

    Isn’t that the usual rationale for racists not saying that they’re not racist? I mean, I admit that I have a real problem dealing with men, and that I really do have an anti-male streak to me, but I never go as far as to say how some of my best friends are men. Of course, I’d be lying if I said that because I don’t have any male friends. I just, well, lack the coping skills to deal with men on anything approaching a daily basis. I should point out that what Dobkin was doing regarding Olivia Records was flat wrong.

    • Melanie Nathan

      June 23, 2010 at 1:27 pm

      exactly could not believe that alix was stupid enough to say that!

    • Melanie Nathan

      June 24, 2010 at 3:04 am

      Bridge ironically the Quarterly Article blasted Olivia for hiring a Transexual person when it was Olivia records all those years back. mel

  7. ittakesavillage_people

    June 23, 2010 at 7:20 am

    Mich Fest allows little dudes with peni on the premises up to a certain age. The age before they start giving me the creeps.

    Damn! What is this LGBT shit? I long for the days of Lesbian and Gay issues. The oh you’re bi?-well bye bye and the trannies can get their own frickin’ tent.