August 16, 1940|
New York, NY, U.S.
|Genres||Folk, women's music|
|Labels||Women's Wax Works (Ladyslipper)|
In 1965 she married Sam Hood who ran the Gaslight Cafe in Greenwich Village. They moved to Miami and opened The Gaslight South Cafe, but moved back to New York in 1968. Their daughter Adrian was born two years later, and the following year the marriage broke up. A few months later, Dobkin came out as a lesbian, which was uncommon for a public personality to do at the time.
Since 1973, she has released a number of albums as well as a songbook and has toured throughout the US, Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand promoting lesbian culture and community through women's music.
Dobkin has a small and devoted audience, has been called a "women's music legend" by Spin Magazine, "pithy" by The Village Voice, "Biting...inventive... imaginative" by New Age Journal, "uncompromising" in the New York Times Magazine, and "a troublemaker" by the FBI. She gained some unexpected fame in the 1980s when comedians such as David Letterman and Howard Stern tracked down her landmark Lavender Jane Loves Women album, and began playing phrases from the song "View From Gay Head" on the air.
In 1977, she became an associate of the American nonprofit publishing organization Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press (WIFP). Dobkin is a member of the OLOC (Old Lesbians Organizing for Change) Steering Committee.
Dobkin has been a highly vocal proponent of women-only space through her consistent exclusion of transgender women. In one letter to the National Center for Lesbian Rights, she explained, "For over twenty years men have declared themselves 'women,' manipulated their bodies and then demanded the feminist seal of approval from survivors of girlhood.... [My lyrics] are not 'oppressive' but refer to those of us who have a girlhood & a clitoris, & no one else." Her controversial criticisms of postmodernism,sadomasochism,transgenderism and other issues appeared in several of her written columns, "Minstrel Blood." Her article "The Emperor's New Gender" appeared in the feminist journal off our backs in 2000. "The Erasure of Lesbians", co-authored with Sally Tatnall, was published in the legislation and case law website Gender Identity Watch in 2015 (transgender activists consider the site anti-transgender).