Award-Winning Publisher Ella Matthes Dies At 81

Ella Matthes, the longtime publisher and editor of Lesbian News Magazine, has passed away.

Ella Matthes, the longtime publisher and editor of Lesbian News Magazine, passed away from a heart attack on March 16, according to a press release shared today.

She ran LN, known as North America’s longest running lesbian publication, from its conception in 1975 until retiring recently in 2022.

She purchased the publication from its past owner, Deborah Bergman, because she wanted to provide lesbians with more support and visibility.

Matthes oversaw iconic cover stories including Melissa Etheridge, kd lang, Ellen DeGeneres, Lady Gaga, Toni Braxton and Hillary Clinton.

She was known and often celebrated for her contributions to the LGBTQ+ community. In 2002, she was awarded Women’s Night Gay & Lesbian Center’s “Lesbian & Bisexual Women Active in Community Empowerment Award” and the “Business Alliance of Los Angeles Community Involvement Award.”

Matthes also received the the 2003 Southern California Women for Understanding “Community Service Award” and the 2012 Vox Femina Los Angeles “Aria Award.”

“At the heart of Ella’s vision for Lesbian News Magazine was a dedication to inclusivity and representation,” LN writes. 

Matthes’ mission for the magazine, in her own words, was to “inform, entertain, and be of service to women who love women of all ages, economic class, and colour.”

She continues, “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.”

In lieu of flowers, people are asked to donate to the June Mazer Archives in West Hollywood, CA in Matthes memory.

She is survived by her brother, Carl Matthes, and her wife of 26 years, Gladi Adams.


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