Beloved Lesbian News publisher Ella Matthes dies

Ella Matthes
Los Angeles, CA – Ella Matthes, longtime publisher and editor of Lesbian News Magazine, passed away from a heart attack on March 16, 2024, at The Little Company of Mary hospital in Norwalk, California. She was 81 years old.

Matthes successfully ran Lesbian News Magazine from 1994 until 2022. The Lesbian News, more commonly known as the LN, had the distinction and responsibility of being North America’s longest running lesbian publication. Founded in 1975 in Southern California by Jinx Beer, LN began as the lone voice for lesbian issues and evolved throughout the years under Matthes’ leadership to become the nation’s foremost voice for lesbians of all ages.

Some of the iconic cover stories have included names such as Melissa Etheridge, kd lang, Ellen DeGeneres, Marlee Matlin, Hillary Clinton, Toni Braxton, Lady GaGa, Katy Perry, Judith Light, and Janet McTeer.

Her numerous contributions to the LGBTQ+ community earned her a slew of recognitions and awards. She was the recipient of 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.”

A native of Los Angeles, California, Matthes graduated from Dorcey High School and attended UCLA for a brief period. She played the saxophone in high school and was a competition bowler for many years.

At the young age of fifteen, she went to work at Great Western Savings in the print shop and developed a passion for printing. By the time she was in her twenties, she purchased Superior Printers and ran it for decades. However, something else kept tugging at her heartstrings. Ella felt lesbians weren’t receiving a lot of support and visibility and wanted to do something about it. So, in 1994, she purchased Lesbian News Magazine from Deborah Bergman who had acquired it from its original owner, Jinx Beers.

Ella Matthes built a mission statement around her vision for all lesbians. “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 is survived by her brother Carl Matthes and her wife Gladi Adams. Ella and Gladi had been together for 26 years and married July 13, 2013.

Donations in her name can be made to the June Mazer Archives in West Hollywood, CA.

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)