6-23-2010- Written by Rachel Wahba
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:
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.
- Alix Dobkin (lesbianlife.about.com)
ALIX NEEDED to ADD a Page for Rumor Control to her website Quote:
“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”
“Alix performs only for women”
False. I often appear before mixed audiences.
“Alix loves all Lesbians but doesn’t like some Lesbians”
“Alix wants her work to have meaning for everyone”
“Alix is ‘Politically Correct’”
I certainly hope so, and so should you hope to be politically enlightened and untrendy!