1995: First Lavender Ball

By E.M. Proper, published February 17, 1995

The Lavender Ball, sponsored by the Gay Lesbian Bisexual Alliance (GLBA), was held in Thwing Ballroom on Saturday, February 11. Since dances usually have a distinctly heterosexual focus, the idea was that homosexual and bisexual people would finally have an event where they could feel entirely comfortable.

Although organizers had hoped for ticket sales of near 150 tickets, only 44 people attended.

"So far I've attributed it to the inclement weather," said Christopher Hinkle, chair of the event.

Meenoo Mishra, one of the attendees, agreed. "There weren't quite as many people as I thought would come, but that was probably due to the weather."

"In previous events that require a large turnout the saving event has always been the community," said Erica Jacobs, vice-president of the GBLA. "It didn't seem to appeal to the community... We did—and this is very encouraging to us—get a lot of undergraduate support."

Still, GLBA members consider the event a success.

"It got our group name out because we had a lot of advertising," said Hinkle. "It got people talking, as far as that goes I'd call it a success. In the past we've had minimal undergraduate attendance."

Boman Abadan, a member of GLBA who attended the Ball, had a good time. "It was really nice and, as I expected, there were not only gay lesbian and bi people there but also a few heterosexual members of the population. Chris Hinkle and myself for the first half hour wore dresses, and we had fun seeing people's expressions," he said. Both then changed into suits, but Abadan came away with the lesson that high heels are "really uncomfortable."

The Ball was the first event of its kind for CWRU. The idea was suggested at a GBLA meeting because another school had successfully held a drag ball, and members hoped the idea could be transplanted to CWRU.

The name "Lavender Ball" was suggested by Jacobs, "lavender being the color somewhat sterotypically associated with gay men and adopted by the gay movement," according to Hinkle. It was also a pun, because Thwing Ballroom has a purple color scheme.

Hors d'oeurves were served, and the Mark Traum Trio, a jazz ensemble from Cleveland, provided music.

"The band was great," Hinkle said.

Whether the Ball will be repeated or not has not yet been decided.

"On the one hand, I think it's a nice event and it would be good for the name recognition of our group ... and I think attendance will improve. On the other hand, we don't want to have a large scale event that no one will come to," said Jacobs. "If they come, we will build it."