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  • Glenda Russell

The History of the NYE Women’s Party

As soon as I saw the announcement about this year's New Year's Eve Women’s Party, I was pulled back in time to a women’s NYE Party in 1988. Sponsored by The Lesbian Connection (TLC), the party was the third annual event held for lesbians to celebrate a new year.

It was a great party, but there was quite a bit of history leading up to it. Go back to 1987, when a group of young lesbians decided Boulder's Human Rights Ordinance, which prohibited discrimination on a number of categories (race, age, religion and the like) should also include sexual orientation as a protected category. Boulder had tried that back in 1973 and ’74, and all heck broke loose. The question was put to a vote of the people. Not only did we lose overwhelmingly, but the two city council sponsors of the measure had to fight recalls; one was successful, the other was not. No one was interested in touching that issue for a good, long time.Not until that group of lesbians decided it was time to try again some dozen years later. They got enough signatures to get it on the ballot, and it passed by just under 300 votes. Yay for our side!

Fast forward a year, when TLC decided to get a bigger venue for the 1988 New Year's Eve bash. They negotiated with a local hotel with a great ballroom. It looked like everything was ready to go… until it was time to sign a contract. The hotel administrators backed out when they heard the name of the organization: No, not a bunch of lesbians at this hotel!

What could TLC do? They called the city of Boulder's Human Rights Office and reported the situation. The Human Rights Office called the hotel and told them about the law that Boulder voters had endorsed the previous year. The hotel called TLC and the party was back on!

It really was a grand event. And it's a wonderful reminder that anti-discrimination laws can work; persistence pays off; political change can be difficult; political change has its rewards; and voting matters.

Happy New Year, everyone.    


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