In February 1976, Ellen Dickinson, newly out as a lesbian, was quietly relaxing on a park bench in Washington Square Park, when inspiration struck! She had a vision of a group that would provide an alternative to the lesbian bar scene and give lesbians an opportunity to share their love of nature and the outdoors; a group that would nurture the spirit of women and create for them a safe community.
Ironically, she found herself drumming up enthusiasm at the Duchess, a popular lesbian bar! And in no time at all, she knew she had struck a chord! Jay Slivka joined forces with Ellen to cofound the group. Not knowing what to expect, Ellen, Jay, and three other women stepped boldly out of the bar scene to organize their new community group called "Hikin' Dykes."
Their very first event was a hike that took place along the Appalachian Trail with just a handful of pioneering women.
Soon after, on February 15, 1976, the first Hikin' Dykes meeting was held with about 10 women who shared that vision with Ellen and Jay. They drew up a schedule of activities and printed it up in a newsletter.
Since then, hundreds of women have come together to enjoy social events with other women. Though our name was changed to better reflect a more diversified range of activities, which include more cultural events for women, Women About continues to provide a safe space for women to come together to enjoy shared interests and common activities. It serves as a valuable alternative to the lesbian bars that were once the only gathering places for women who love other women.