When she began working as a secretary for RKO pictures in 1947, her boss warned her that there wouldn’t be much to do, but that she still had to look busy. Edythe Eyde used the time to secretly write an underground lesbian newsletter called Vice Versa.
She would build 12 copies of each issue, three of which she’d mail to friends, distributing the rest,telling each person to pass it on. She did this for nine issues.
She wrote under the pen name Lisa Ben [lesbian].
Not only did she become a formidable editor, writing for science fiction fanzines (her favorite genre) on the side, but she also wrote and performed queer folk songs which she would play at lesbian bars.
Among the lyrics:
“The girl that I marry will probably be
As butch as a hunk of machinery.
The girl I idolize
Will wear slacks with flat fronts
Tailored shirts and bowties.
She’ll walk with a swagger
And wear short hair.
And keep me impressed
With her tomboy air.
Instead of cruisin’
I’ll be usin’
Her shoulder to lean on while snoozin’
A fainthearted fairy
The girl I marry won’t be.”
“Scattered are we over land, over sea
How many we number will never be known
each one must learn from a star
she must put a mask on her heart
and live in a world set apart
a shy secret world of her own
Here’s to the days that we’re yearning for
to give up our hearts as we may
love’s always love and sincerity given
despite what the others may say
The world cannot dare to deny us
we’ve been here since centuries past
and you can be sure our ranks will endure
so long as this whole world may last”
Eyde died in 2015 at the age of 94. No obituary was published.