The Historical Birthday-Tea Party March 3rd

Edith Lees Ellis, 1861-1916 socialist, feminist and writer, was the wife of Havelock Ellis, the sexologist.

Her birthday is not recorded anywhere I can find it, so today is a random and arbitrary attribution.

Edith was a member of the Fabian society and wrote regularly for The Freewoman.

Havelock  characterised her relationships with women as lesbian. I suppose this makes her the first ‘official’ lesbian.

There is some argument that Havelock was  trying to make out it was his idea that she be a lesbian (when in fact her relationships were all a-sexual)  even though her relationships with women predate their meeting; or that he was using this to justify their lack of a sexual relationship. She does not appear to have ever had sex with her husband, they often lived apart and kept separate finances.

I find myself supremely unconcerned about whether she consummated any relationships: her strongest emotional relationships were with women.


Author: Cherry Potts

Cherry Potts is a published fiction writer, publisher, event organiser, photographer, cardmaker, NLP master practitioner, life coach and trainer. She is an enthusiastic singer. Through Arachne Press she publishes fiction and non fiction and runs spoken word events and cross-arts workshops for writers at interesting venues. Always interested in new opportunites to perform, write or explore writing.

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