Border Women was started in the mid 1980s by one woman, Verity, posting contact details in Leominster inviting others to join her in starting up a group in the area. She gained further publicity through an article in The Hereford Times; Verity contacted a reporter there and asked if she wanted to write about lesbians in the Borders. She did and Verity bravely put her own address on the article. As a result several women contacted her and the first meeting (involving nearly 20 women) was held in Leominster Community Centre where the name Border Women was chosen. A follow up letter, circulated to those present at the meeting, described it as follows:
A monthly newsletter was initiated shortly after this inaugural meeting. Two years later the group was still going strong and was described in The Pink Paper (16th June, 1990) as follows:
Border Women, the lively lesbians from the Welsh Marches, are celebrating their second birthday. In May 1988 Verity, a Leominster Lesbian, advertised a meeting for local lesbians and was delighted when twenty turned up. Now, two years on, the group has spread from Telford to Brecon and Worcester to Aberystwyth with 100 women receiving their newsletter. They meet regularly in Shrewsbury and there is a social and disco every month in Ludlow, as well as one-off video showings, workshops, parties and picnics.
In 2007 the newsletter was discontinued in favour of the current social networking site and as a result membership has grown rapidly and steadily, with about 20 new members joining each year. Woman’s Hour (30th September 2015) described Border Women as follows:
Shropshire is a great place to be a lesbian. There are numerous gay-friendly events, venues and activities. And most noteworthy, there is a fantastic self-sustaining network for lesbian and bisexual women from across the counties along the England – Wales border. It’s called Border Women, it’s been running since 1988 and members organise events for all tastes and ages.