This is what happens when the city government invades your sex life
Yesterday was election day in Boulder, Colorado.
In a progressive neighborhood seen as one of the happiest, healthiest and most creative cities in the country, that’s a big deal. People want the natural beauty preserved. They want to see young adults more involved in the community. They want affordable housing.
At least, that’s what they say. As a young woman struggling to feel welcome in Boulder, I see this city differently.
After a government official invaded my home, demanding to see that my partner and I were sharing a bed; after he counted the toothbrushes (and likely sniffed the sheets); after he demanded government-sanctioned paperwork to prove our relationship; and after he scheduled monthly inspections to routinely scrutinize our home; I don’t see this place as a progressive haven anymore.
Instead, it feels like some totalitarian hell, a lot like living inside George Orwell’s "1984."
This invasion of my sex life all started with a few prying neighbors. Just like in Orwell’s dystopian novel, in Boulder, members of the community anonymously report one another to the government.
You see, we’re a few twenty-somethings living in a neighborhood where young adults are not welcome. One night, some family members came to visit. Little siblings, college age. From behind the blinds, our neighbors counted the kids entering our front door. They reported us to the city.
For years, the rich community has ensured young adults can’t afford to move in with the help of Ordinance 8072. In these nice neighborhoods, the ordinance allows “no more than three unrelated tenants.”
The community members want wealthy families, not struggling millennials. Of course, younger generations can’t afford the area’s absurdly high rent without splitting it among a few friends. So the youngsters are priced out, and the old fogies are free to drink prune juice and watch reruns of Golden Girls in peace.
But one night, my elderly comrades stepped away from their telescreens, saw more than 3 unrelated adults next door, and reported us to Big Brother. The government’s response was immediate.
An officer with the city of Boulder knocked on our door without warning. We were all at our 9-5 grinds, so no one answered. He called the landlord and announced his suspicions.
He’d done some digging, he said, and believed the utility bill was too high to accommodate only three tenants. He demanded a tour of the house. Saying no was never an option.
The landlord explained our living situation to the officer. There were four of us — but my partner and I share a bedroom and are soon to share a last name. The officer demanded evidence of this. If we refused to provide it, we would be evicted immediately.
So he intruded our home. He ensured my partner and I were sleeping in the same bed. He forced us to register our partnership with the city government, insisting we needed paperwork to validate our relationship. He’ll keep an eye on us in the future, too. As long as we continue living here, our sexual relationship, which we once had the freedom to keep behind closed doors, will be routinely under scrutiny.
My sex life, my relationship, and any sense of privacy within my own home has been violated.
I understand that upper-class families want to be isolated from rowdy college students. But this government-mandated discrimination has gone too far.
In the Boulder election, affordable housing was a platform on which every single candidate ran. They say they want options for the poor, the youth and the middle class. Yet their laws and harsh enforcement say the contrary. They say they want the town to be inclusive and accessible. Yet who can live in each neighborhood is strictly regulated.
They simultaneously hold two entirely opposing opinions to be true. That is textbook doublethink.
At the earliest opportunity, I’ll be leaving Boulder and Big Brother behind. When the government becomes so powerful, that like the Ministry of Love, it can mandate who sleeps together and what happens within the walls of someone’s home, an election won’t make a difference.
Boulder’s elitism is built into the fabric of the city’s laws. As Orwell himself would put it, “All animals are equal. But some animals are more equal than others.”