The Oregon Bicycle Racing Association says controversial board member Inga Thompson has resigned. The move comes less than a week since the organization voted to keep Thompson on their board following calls for her removal from some OBRA members. Thompson has attracted concern because of her advocacy around transgender athletes.
OBRA Executive Director Chuck Kenlan announced the resignation in an email to members on Thursday. “I pledge to you, our passionate membership, that OBRA will continue to strive towards fulfilling our mission of inclusiveness in the sport of bicycle racing and adhere to our statement of diversity, equity, and inclusion,” Kenlan wrote, “We are imperfect, and recognize that there is so much more to learn.”
According to the Willamette Week, Thompson’s resignation came after the OBRA Board found her in violation of their confidentiality agreement. “In a Dec. 11 email to Thompson obtained by [Willamette Week], Kenlan wrote that due to statements made to BikePortland and on Twitter, the board determined that Thompson “violated the confidentiality of the executive session’.” (Some of those tweets can be found in the screen grab at right.)
The OBRA Board was going to vote to remove her and before doing so gave her the option to resign.
Save Women's Sports outside #SCOTUS on October 8th, rallying to preserve our rights as women. Represented by Inga Thompson, @coachblade and @BethStelzer #SexNotGender #TeamBiology pic.twitter.com/8cnWzxSRaI
— Save Women's Sports (@SaveWomensSport) October 10, 2019
Thompson first came under scrutiny from some OBRA members last month for her work with Save Women’s Sports and her foundation to exclude transgender athletes from racing in the women’s category.
Throughout this episode, Thompson has maintained that she supports transgender athletes. On Tuesday, Thompson replied to our story on Twitter by saying, “So excited the Board unanimously voted to keep me on and see the the value of more inclusion of transgender women!”
But her words bely her advocacy which is tied to people and organizations who intentionally misgender and disrespect transgender people. Her association with Save Women’s Sports, a group that works with well-known anti-transgender groups like Family Research Council and the Heritage Foundation, also raises eyebrows. These associations, combined with her recent online conduct, likely made her continued association with OBRA untenable.
Along with Thompson, three other OBRA Board members have resigned in the past 90 days.
David Saltzberg, owner of Zone 5 Promotions, said he stepped down this week with one year left in his term. Asked via email why he resigned, Saltzberg replied. “It’s a rather toxic situation. Inga and the board have been vilified in the process. The intent of her efforts have been trampled by your site and other media outlets. The truth has been overwhelmed by partisan emotion. I chose to not get caught up in the fray. I have more important things to do.”
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and email@example.com
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Thanks for flagging it Rachel. I re-read it and I don’t see why it should be deleted. That person is expressing their belief and it doesn’t feel directly personal to a specific person. It also doesn’t come off as purposefully mean or insensitive. Those aren’t my only standards for deletion, but overall I don’t think this deserves deletion. I could be wrong and am open to changing my mind. Thanks.
I don’t care, seeing your comments on this site all the time would make me not want your money anyway. What a weird flex, bud. Enjoy your $25k bikes and your privilege.
I feel sorry for your mechanic.
Lol. As everyone in the industry knows, “guy who uses the value of his possessions as some sort of veiled threat” is always down with paying for labor and never brings in bag after bag of barely compatible internet parts to be installed while he waits. Sounds like you really missed out.
This is a private website owned by a private company. Please explain how this entitles you to “freedom of speech” in the bike portland comment section (under US law).
I don’t think that was the point trying to be made. Rather I see it as trying to say, you can’t have a disagreement without discourse otherwise it would not be a disagreement. And while I 100% agree with the sentiment of Rachel Cameron, I 100% disagree with the means to which she see to dominate that disagreement. It’s no more her place to say to remove the comment from this site anymore than it was wrong to post it. I don’t see this as a means to address our social issues but rather a means to galvanize them.
My more “left” comments on bike portland are moderated often. This is a private site that only allows content approved by Jonathan Maus. Any expectation of constitutionally-protected on this privately-owned site is absurd.
It’s not about constitutionality; it’s about whether we want to have a forum where different people can express their opinions (and maybe change them) or a monologue where dissenters from the orthodoxy are silenced.
it’s a very tricky line to walk Hello, Kitty. And I lean toward protecting people’s hearts, not protecting people’s free speech.
And by “we” I mean “Jonathan”.
“unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forgo one’s own”
that’s exactly what the OP of this thread did. so why are you defending them?
My more “left” comments on bike portland are moderated often. This is a private site that only allows content approved by Jonathan Maus. Any expectation of constitutionally-protected on this privately-owned site is absurd.Recommended 4
Because I respect their freedom to offend.
Because I’m a fallible human who will likely offend others by having an opinion on any matter of subjects and wish to create a standard that still allows for me to have an opinion so that maybe someone I can help me learn from it.
People are fallible. If one makes a mistake, one should do one’s best to rectify it and resolve any harm that might have been caused.
Perhaps these comments should be kept up for all to see, but only if they get fact checked by you Jonathan. For example, “You’re born the way you are and we live in an open and inclusive society” is a belief, sure – but “Fighting to compete with the opposite sex” is not what this topic is about at all, unless you agree with the premise of the comment that trans women are actually men. A definitive statement about this would help set the tone of the conversation, instead of letting every other comment be about ‘men’ competing ‘without restriction’ against women.
The comments here reflect peoples’ beliefs. I don’t think they should be fact-checked. Opinions are not about facts, they’re about emotions and what someone perceives to be factual.
I also don’t think it’s a good idea to speculate about my personal beliefs based on the content of comments that I don’t write.
Let me be clear: it is my intention and goal to protect people from hurtful comments. I don’t want people to come here and feel insulted or marginalized by other peoples’ beliefs. That being said, I don’t think it’s possible to create a 100% “safe” space for everyone while still moving these sensitive issues forward. I might be wrong about that, but I don’t know how we can have a truly inclusive discussion with people on various parts of the spectrum of understanding if we don’t let some amount of expression — crude and “wrong” as it might be — come out.
I realize there’s a very fine line between what words are likely to hurt someone and what is simply someone innocently expressing their beliefs.
Lastly, you make a great point about how I could do a better job laying out some of the basic facts about the situation which would improve the quality of the discussion. Sometimes those facts don’t work in a story and there’s not an obvious place for me to put them. I will go back and see if I can lay some of those facts out in hopes of getting everyone on the same page and debunking some of the misunderstanding I see in these comments.
UPDATE, 2/22/21: I have lowered my tolerance level for comment tone and content and have deleted many of the comments on this thread. I am truly sorry to Jackie and others who were hurt by words they read here… and by my reluctance to have a strong hand in moderating them.
Jonathan, you are explicitly choosing to platform hate from folks like Inga and Trey. You’ve gone out of your way to tell her side of the story, posted her assertions without fact checking, and pushed back on deleting or censoring comments from folks that further her viewpoint. It seems you’ve gone back and edited some of your posts as the story has unfolded and as folks speak up to point out that your coverage is hurtful, but it’s not clear what’s been changed or when.
It might be time for you to make your personal beliefs clear so that folks don’t have to speculate. The narrative I’m seeing promoted on this site over the last few months doesn’t leave much doubt in my mind.
I completely disagree with the framing and the speculation in your comment.
I’m not “choosing to platform hate”, I’m putting stories together with the information I can get from sources who will talk and in a way that I think is fair and necessary. I have not gone “out of my way” to tell any particular side of the story. And I have not “pushed back” on deleting certain comments.
And yes I have edited posts after the fact as I’ve learned more and as I’ve been able to clean things up for clarify and accuracy. I don’t make timestamps on every change because that would be crazy and cluttered and not very useful.
My personal beliefs? Why should that matter? If you want to speculate about what I believe, than that’s on you. I should be able to publish news stories without having to share my personal beliefs. I’m doing my best to be fair and present all the sides of the story. Do you realize that Inga refused to comment to me on the resignation story because she feels I’m biased against her? Do you realize that I’ve reached out to transgender people to elevate their voices but they didn’t want to be involved? Do you realize that no one at OBRA will talk on the record about this because of confidentiality rules?
Do you realize that if I express my personal beliefs about the issues and the people involved in stories I’m trying to cover that it might make it impossible for me to actually cover those stories well? And that sources won’t talk to me if they (rightly or wrongly) feel I’m biased against them?
I will absolutely share personal beliefs when I feel it’s the right time to do so, but I don’t need you to pressure me to do it based on a completely incorrect speculation of my motives and character.
$25,000k, huh? Where in the world did you find a $25,000,000 bike, let alone several of them?
On a more serious note, I’d like to point out that “taking my business elsewhere” because you disagree with someone’s views on a topic not related to your business is itself a form of cancel culture.
This is an ageist insult.
We live in what you call an “open and inclusive” society because queer people have spent decades demanding rights and refusing to listen to those who tell us that we go too far, are “disturbing”, and “make zero sense.” It’s a waste of time to tell LGBTQ people how to live.. If we cared about living to what society considers “an acceptable standard”, we wouldn’t be here.
For the record I recommended this. I also agree with it. That said I’ve found it hard in this context to have an opinion on this matter because it goes beyond being excepted and goes into the definition of assimilation into a group which is based on categorization of physical aspects which started as a means to address its exclusive nature in the first place. You in a sense create a paradox. In one aspect you need to include everyone and let them define their own labels, on the other hand the very merit of why the labels exist have validity. If by nature you have advantages ( which I’m sure I will be called out for saying exists ) based on your physical make up, then these rules where put in place to help a minority have a space that was otherwise dominated by the majority. Some of those minorities may feel this puts them at a disadvantage. Which one of those minority groups do you listen to in this case?
I don’t think you can’t appease everyone in this case. Someone is going to feel this is unfair and who are we to analyze their feelings. It’s this why, I think the whole thing is stupid. If more people started this conversation with what they want from the race in the first place they would see its inherent flaws and this whole debate would be seen as the moot point it is.
Hows about we stop distracting our selfs with trying to compete with each other for acceptance or what ever other ego boost you need and identify that its this very thing that has been driving us apart from each other from the start.
I’m probably wrong in many of the opinions here, I’m sure there are many of us who feel this can be a healthy event and I’m sure they love to attend and invest in to the races in their own way. I’m not trying to tell you to give up your happiness, I’m trying to show you how your happiness has its own inherent cost to society. You maybe ok with that, but I’ve long given up on that. For the record I use to run cross country track, but what I really wanted in that time of my life was to join the ski team. Though that was never going to be a reality for me as I was poor growing up. Running didn’t cost me anything. I was inherently left out of a group that I wished to be a part of because of means outside of my control. This is at its core the issue people are trying to champion here. I welcome that much and hope for the best, but realize first hand how the world works.
I don’t disagree with that, and think it could have been worded better to express its intent.
This site is so unforgiving to dyslexic people. Can’t see half of my typos half the time. The other have the time I read it phonetically and it sounds right in my head. All it amounts to is bad grammar with no recourse and a sore ego. If you can’t let people edit their comments you have bigger issues than could be solved by disabling edits of said comments. (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
R. I. P. OBRA
Fixed it for you:
“Her efforts to keep women’s sports fair by excluding women is disgraceful.”
I truly enjoy it when you alter other people’s words simply because you cannot accept other people’s viewpoints. It confirms my observation that Progressives and Puritans are two sides of the same coin. Complete intolerance for anything other than your world-view.
Honestly, it makes no sense why sports are segregated. Men and woman should play together at the level you are. Bike racing included.
I think this is where we are heading.
The funny thing is, if we do this, we will basically end up with only slightly less sex segregation anyway because sexual dimorphism in the human animal is a real thing and it has consequences. The upper echelon will still be almost exclusively people born sexually male; Serena Williams was handily defeated by the #300 Male tennis player for a reason. Also I think that a football club of 15 year old boys from Dallas defeated the US Women’s major league soccer team..
Perhaps because we have segregated the sexes, we have essentially allowed the divide between men and women to continue. Perhaps if the ladies were up against the men all the time, this might change.
Without literal genetic modifications or performance enhancing drugs: not likely. Unless you’re willing to wait a couple hundred generations while simultaneously maintaining a culture that pits females against males consistently with the express purpose of eugenically equalizing the sexes in terms of sports performance, in which case I bid you good luck because you’re going to need it.
That is a strong plan. Well, if the goal is to effectively kill sports for females. I think that would be a shame.
I understand that some people do not understand the appeal of sport, team and competition. For many though, it is or has been a positive aspect of their lives.
The segregation of sport by sex is what allowed females to participate on what was considered a largely even playing field. Do away with that and the number of females drops to almost nothing. How many females will make the high school basketball (as an example) team? The college team? The pro team?
For those that do not personally value sport, surely you are capable of seeing the generations of people who have.
That doesn’t make sense, there’s a reason why so many categories are created for bike racing. You seriously suggest that a Cat 5 woman or man should race with Cat 1/2 field? Uhhh no, bad idea. In some cases we get juniors who are such a bad-ass on the bike and know how to integrate into the field that they do race outside their regular category. Transgender athletes obviously deserve the same consideration and rights other races do, the question here has been as to what role does OBRA regulate any of this.
Keep up the good work OBRA, and the more trans racers the better because road racing needs all the help it can get.
This was a good decision by OBRA. How best to include trans women in cycling is a valid discussion, but Inga was not a good person to have on the board for that discussion. She appeared to, at the very least, post hurtful comments on social media and willfully refuse to learn how to talk about trans people with respect. I’d think treating trans women with respect is a baseline requirement.
Treating trans people (and women) with respect is not even considered by leaders like Trump and Boris Johnson, and their followers, yet they’re the one who get elected!
Alex et al. You say Inga posted hateful messages on social media. Please share. Just because you have a photo with a group doesn’t mean you embrace them 100%. Politicians of different parties have their photos together all the time. She maybe for keeping Title XI as it is which Saves Womens Sports is about. Other parts of their agenda might not be aligned with her belief or agenda. Just ask her. I believe she spoke to people of every group and had pictures with other groups but this is the one used. Does someone hate EVERY action or love every action of the current political parties?
Note, I said “hurtful” not “hateful.” Although “hateful” might or might not be appropriate too, I think the case is extremely strong that Inga was at least wantonly “hurtful” to trans people in a way that’s not acceptable for a board member, without getting into her exact motivations.
Some of the alleged (I did not see them first hand) social media comments are here:
Then go to another shop
Vilifying the board was never my intention, but I did see many posts that called them transphobic, etc. It’s unfortunate Saltzberg felt the need to resign over it. But, sometimes being on a board means making hard decisions.
Only two board members did or said things publicly that I thought were actually problematic, one being Inga.
One of my closest friends sits on the board. My petition was never meant to vilify the board. It was meant to bring light to Inga’s clear conflict of interest, and put pressure on the board, and Inga herself, to do the right thing remove her.
And 500 people agreed with me.
Saying OBRA itself is transphobic is not true.
See you at the races, person who feels the need to harass people online but also remain anonymous.
If you truly stand behind what you say, why are you ashamed to have your name attached?
The petition was signed with real names, many attached to social media accounts with pictures and more. So your point is invalid.
The one who wouldn’t release the names of “supporters” is Inga herself, nor would she state who these trans women are who supposedly want their own category without hormone level restrictions
I’m with Rachel here. She has a lot on the line, a small business, a racing career, a known face and a public personality. Anonymous commenters should show a little deference to a person who is out in the open.
Women in sports have to put up with a bunch of stuff. How many people would sign up for everything that goes with a gender transition just to change their race category? I’m thinking, not a lot.
All this has done for me is re enforce that any sport that denotes its participants based on a physical characteristic is stupid in the first place. Just tell me who is the strongest of the infants already. This is typical bread and circus people, as if we really need a reason to play in the mud.
It’s a conversation for a different time, but it has always struck me how American culture is 99.9999% spectator and fetishizes a handful of elite competitors. One of the things I love about cycling and cycling culture, i.e. OBRA, is how successful it has been at opening the door for more people to race.
I think by the very nature of the fact we are having this conversation contradicts this statement.
I personally think the races by their very definition leans on classism and sexism. It would be in interesting sight to see how this group addresses the issue of exclusion by means of wealth.
I’d argue the underclass does not even consider this race as a past time and thats by design.
I’d be more worried about what that says about the group, but then again we live in a society ruled by classism so FML I guess.
Point taken, but still more people and I believe that OBRA is trying to expand accessibility and in the context of our greater society is making some progress.
I appreciate your good nature, though I just think its trying to put out a fire with a blow torch.
I don’t claim people who are into sports or the sports them self see the event as divisive as I do.
I’m sure everyone thinks they are doing something good by creating a community and like minded ideals. That act of pushing your self to the limit is not what I identify as the issue with sports.
It’s the organization itself that is inherently flawed because the idea perpetuates the narrative of false human qualities in a society plagued with abusive standards. For a country founded on oppression there will always be groups of people who are alienated by the very existence of this group despite its best attempts to appeal to their greater good. In short these are not achievements worth celebrating in a broken society. I think it’s our inability to identify with that which perplexes me more than any categorization of any stupid sport.
These arguments here are for nothing and achieve nothing. I think we all lose and not because we can’t agree upon this subject but because we are distracted by this subject in the first place. We give it more weight than real issues we face. How many more people will be killed on our roadways before we can decide on who’s ego should be honored first?
I see my peers here and I know many of you personally. I know you have good hearts and wish good will for others. So why can’t you walk away from sports? Why is our society’s priorities so fucked? I personally think because too many of our privileged are corrupt by that very privilege. If you all want to pacify the bad times with these good times, at least don’t be ignorant as to why you are doing it. Because if first place didn’t matter none of you would have shit to say because this would not have been an issue in the first place.
It a bummer that Saltzberg is resigning in this way. He is a very good guy and dedicated to putting on a variety of high quality bicycle racing events. His hard work is contrasted by all the complainers that don’t usually do any of the extremely hard work of putting on a bike race but are more than happy to criticize. The OBRA board is in a no win situation because none of the activists are willing to listen to the other side. How did a couple of very tiny minority opinions get amplified so much? Is anyone willing to listen anymore?
Some objective points are trying to be made here, but if we really break it down its about labels and who gets to define said labels. The second this group decided it had an authority in this matter they made an enemy of the community that strives to dismantle systems that have been put in place that use labels such in this manner to control or exclude others. The irony is this very group is defined by being able to create labels but never once thought about who should have the right to define or challenge the labels in the first place. This is at its core what is wrong with this country in that we oppose our views on others and most likely why it has been so adamantly fought over and why it’s so divisive. So I’d encourage you to ask the question, why do I even want to participate in these events in the first place? What is it about our egos that we feel so compelled to compete with each other. Put another way, if we put this same level of energy into addressing our road ways we should have already fixed our issues with vision zero, but instead we are fighting over who gets the stupid plastic trophy for fuck all.
oppose => impose
can I get a typo fix 🙂
Seems like, for the sake of closely matched racing, folks ought to have some way to know their body mass (such as percentage of fat); oxygen uptake numbers; and hormone levels, especially testosterone. Then they could self-sort into a few bands within the numbered categories (more or less representing experience level) and the pro category. No more sorting by age or gender. Whaddya think — as a general concept, that is, without getting bogged down in the devilish details)?
The irony is that the same community to which has spent a life time dismantling the idea that physical characteristics should not be used as a form of quantifying ones ability wishes to participate in events that is literally the definition of just that. This is why sports are stupid and why bread and circus works to pacify the mass.
This is just beyond needless. This already exists… it’s call race category, you start as a beginner and if you are faster move up categories. Within a couple years racing people generally plateau at a natural level which would in theory represent the combination of all the attributes you discussed.
Actually, no. Categories exist, but they are all about age and gender/sex as primary sort. (A recent example: https://bridgecitycx.com/?page_id=85 ) What I floated above was about primary-sorting by _actual_ physical data, rather than by assumptions assigned to age and gender/sex.
Any sex or age can race in the open categories. That older riders and women choose to race in categories excluding younger males isn’t a reason to do away with age/sex categories. Nobody is telling older riders or women they can’t race in those categories where, as you suggest, their physical attributes would speak for themselves… yet few do out of their own choosing.
Okay. And the same would be true of categories based on _actual_ physical-capacity data rather than on a supposed pecking order of gender/sex and age. (Or else, why do you feel it would not?)
Mixing men and women into general skill based categories is always brought up when this topic is discussed and it really shouldn’t be. I’ve never heard women say they want to race with men, if anything they don’t even want to be on the course at the same time and have to deal with the men’s fields passing them. This year we even began seeing the elite womens CX races get their own race time (rather than be the 3rd wave behind two mens fields) This shouldn’t be about combining men and women’s categories, it shouldn’t even be about how xy athletes can compete in xx fields until you get to the elite levels. I haven’t seen anyone genuinely suggest OBRA is handling Trans racer participation wrong, so can we stop suggesting anything major needs to change with OBRAs rules on this? Heck, this CX season more men have been beaten by Clara when she raced in the “mens” field then elite women lost to trans women. The only thing more unproductive then this idea is the idea that trans athletes need their own category.
No, not proposing skill-based categories. (Those already exist.) Rather, proposing _actual_ physical-capacity data as primary sort above those categories, to replace primary sorting based on _mythical_ physical-capacity data (age and gender/sex).
In English please, Jay.
This makes sense. Thanks for lending insight into this; I was struggling with figuring out the actual issue separate from the politics around it, looking from the outside in.
Hey Joe. Please tell us how inclusion of transgender athletes has harmed you. I’d love to know how exactly these efforts “are appreciated” by you. Go on, I’ll wait.
Are you lumping yourself in with some arbitrary group known as regressives? And how do Puritans play into this discussion of gender and sports? All I’ve found is this case study of 1620: https://medium.com/the-transition-transmission/transgender-history-in-colonial-america-d7699e24d5de
Furrfu, what a toxic thread. I don’t have The Answer (42?) to all gender-in-sports issues, and I’m blissfully privileged not to have to defend myself for either side in that case, but the vitriol presented here opens my eyes (more) as to what transgender – and presumably LGBTQ – individuals face on a daily basis just for being themselves.
I love this blog and I love (Many things about) this city.
It brakes my heart to read such transphobic hate from readers of this site.
Trans women are women. The end.
A couple of years ago I went to listen to a biologist/ science professor give a talk about sex and biology. One thing I remember is being surprised at how common folks are born that aren’t XX or XY, but something else. I believe in science. Social scientists talk in depth about gender is a social construct. There is tons of info available. Feel free to enrole in a gender studies class or watch videos online for free.
There is so much I don’t know in life.
A few that I feel pretty sure about:
Time exists in some capacity.
So does matter.
Trans women are women.
Rachel is right in this fight, and on the right side of history.
Inga is wrong on this (along with trey J, middle of the road, rudi v…)
I miss the early comment section of bikeportland.org where there was a lot of love and support and we didn’t have to read such vile and hurtful comments from bigots
>>> Time exists in some capacity. <<<
Funny… I was listening to an interview with a scientist just yesterday who was arguing that time is an illusion created by our brains to simplify the state of the world into something more manageable.
First I’d like to commend you on trying very hard to be objective in this reply.
So while we are on the grounds of being respectful, let’s touch on the subject of what sports do to our society. I’m of the opinion that its one of the most narcissistic activities we do as humans. I’m also of the opinion that it causes more over all harm to society that it helps address. I’m of the opinion that we are hypocrites to attend events like this if in the same breath we state society should not measure ones qualities based on physical aspects let alone celebrate someone solely on that.
So now you know I’m of that opinion why should we have sports? How would you argue that sports like this are not directly at odds with every other aspect of society that says we should not behave like this? Why does someone such as yourself feel they should give so much of their energy to such meaningless events.
I feel if we as a society start to have this real talk about our stupid rituals and start given real life issues that deserve the gravity we give sports, then maybe we can start to do the same for every other aspect of segregation we create in society like racism or classism.
So while we all bitch about who’s wrong and who’s right I will be patiently waiting for the adults to put their toys down and stop playing games.
“Because Watt meters exist now, I’ve proposed that we adopt another objective measure to organize bike racers by category: Watts per Kilogram at FTP. This way, we side-step the entire sex / gender debate, and similarly classed racers can find themselves in the correct category.”
A) Are you proposing this solution for elite racers or everyone, because honestly that sounds like a total pain in the ass – and probably not great for attracting newbies. I’ve been taking part in cyclocross races for a few years and I don’t have a clue about my power output.
B) Do we really need to “side-step” the debate? Personally, I feel like there’s a lot to be gained by continuing with the discussion.
Powermeters are readily available. Pick your dividing line – maybe Cat 3 and above. Most people are doing an FTP test as part of winter training anyway. The data can be self-reported as there’s no doping control in amateur cycling, after all.
My point is we could adopt a different objective proxy for performance not based on a protected classification such as sex/ gender / race / religion / nationality (etc.) and to explain why sex was only ever a stand-in for that sorting mechanism.
The details of the implementation can be worked out without too much effort …
You can pick one up, sure, but aren’t they generally at least a couple hundred bucks? Do we really want to come up with additional barriers to entry? Particularly when we already have policies in effect at the elite level that seem to be working?
Both are good points. You can probably do an FTP test affordably with someone like Rick Cady without having to buy one. My friend Dean is a triathlon coach in Portland and just did several with his athletes today using a few borrowed Kickrs.
I may not agree with some of your premises Bike Guy, but here’s a shot at adding some thoughts to points you made.
“Men and women’s bodies evolved to fulfill different roles.”
-Suspiciously the same bio-essentialist argument that people who believe for example romantic relationships are intended to be only between a man and a woman.
“If you accept science, surely you can accept evolution, and natural / sexual selection. Hopefully you don’t dispute that.”
-As the comment above suggests, the science we have available suggests far more difference between human bodies – chromosomally, hormonally, etc. – than previously assumed.
“One may feel as though they are a woman trapped in a man’s body i.e. their gender does not match their sex. However, categories in bike racing don’t exist based on one’s PERCEIVED gender. They exist to ensure fairness.”
-That’s the spirit in which the current rules governing trans bodies was written, and the IOC who set this ‘gold standard’ which UCI, USAC, and OBRA follow had all the currently available research and input to back it up, and revisit it numerous times since 2004. Again, perhaps it isn’t perfect, but it exists.
“You can ‘feel’ like a woman but still have all the physical characteristics of a man.”
-True of every woman, no?
“Because Watt meters exist now, I’ve proposed that we adopt another objective measure to organize bike racers by category: Watts per Kilogram at FTP.”
-Sure, but why not break things down further than the already set categories based on gender/skill/speed/age etc.? A longer inseam would be a benefit for cx barrier hopping, should that be factored in to categorization? No one talks about all the advantages (which would include financial advantage, technological advantage, social advantage…) or other physiological variations in the human body; just averages between men and women as well as talk that predominantly revolves around testosterone levels when a trans-woman competes.
TLDR, science is complex, bodies are complex, measuring advantage in sports is complex, and to reiterate: we’re not talking about men and women, we’re talking about trans women (on hormones) and cis women competing, and what certain advantages exist within that range of bodies – not averages. Still haven’t had any out trans folks compete at the Olympic level, though here’s hoping that this one will be the first to include a trans woman in BMX!
The phrase “dog whistle” is itself a dog whistle, unless, of course, you are referring to a dog whistle.
Because I respect their freedom to offend.
Because I’m a fallible human who will likely offend others by having an opinion on any matter of subjects and wish to create a standard that still allows for me to have an opinion so that maybe someone I can help me learn from it.
People are fallible. If one makes a mistake, one should do one’s best to rectify it and resolve any harm that might have been caused.
So, should OBRA shut down or dissolve until this is resolved? Come up with appropriate rules/standards that are passed down to teams that want to participate?
OBRA already has a policy in place. That’s the whole point.
There’s really no issue to be resolved gilly. OBRA has a transgender policy — a different set of rules for elite and non-elite competition – and they seem to be working pretty well. The issue here was about a board member whose personal conduct and advocacy was at odds with OBRA membership and some of its leadership. That person is now out of the picture.
OBRA is now in a position of having several Board of Director positions open and there’s an exciting opportunity for them to add some fresh voices to the table. I think OBRA will be fine.
Thank you for the summary. I read the article and a lot of comments and that didn’t jump out until this one.
Ugh… this is all so exhausting. The Grievance Culture Wars never seem to end.
If trans folks want to compete outside of their sex let them compete against other Trans. It’s not mean, it’s just fairer based on biology. Pretending otherwise is like climate change denial. I sincerely hope no one is offended by my opinion.
And what would those categories look like?
I think Middle of the Road Guy is saying that cumulatively, his bike collection is worth $25,000, which is not an unreasonable number.
I think my collection is worth about $250.
Hello Kitty, winter is a good season to upgrade 🙂
To a $25,000K bike? A little out of my league, I’m afraid.
You must be exhausted from all those mental gymnastics.
25k = 25,000
25,000k = 25,000,000
I think a lot of people are also missing that the second picture of Inga on this article is her in DC protesting the supreme court case saying that trans people can’t be fired for just being trans. She is actively trying to harm trans people. She has no place in OBRA leadership.
Just came over here for a quick look to see what was going on and, daaaannngg… I just keep reminding myself that how people sound on the internet isn’t necessarily a fair representation of their true character – same as how people behave behind the wheel of a car, right? ;-D Otherwise it’s really easy to feel our society is doomed (though, I do understand some people feel that way regardless).
Anyways, is anyone else wondering where all of this may lead in regard to non-binary identifying people? What I’ve gathered from both sides commenting on here, is that the underlying idea is that everyone should be able to compete. The disagreement is centered on what’s considered fair and who should be able to compete in women’s events, but what about those who don’t identify with men or women? Or Gender-fluid people?
In a previous story, Soren posted a link to a Scientific American article talking about the broad spectrum of sex-defining genes/mutations/disorders/processes/etc. that scientists have been discovering, each apparently having some influence in the physical development of sexual organs, hormones, and possibly even identity. And not one particular thing overrides all others – almost like we’re complex beings, crazy! It’s conclusion is basically that, while binary cis-gender characteristics are most common, the best way to figure out a person’s sex is to maybe ask them. BUT, what does this mean for sport?
Some on here are saying that if a person genuinely feels like a woman they should be allowed to compete with the women, but what about those who don’t feel like a man or woman? Or those who feel like one or the other at different times? Not trying to say that the trans-woman inclusion thing isn’t important, but is it perhaps short-sighted to not be looking further ahead? Maybe instead of just ending this with “trans-women are women” we should use it as an opportunity to rebuild the way competitive sport is structured to make sure it really is all-inclusive? And circling back to concerns here, how do we make that fair? And why am I asking so many questions???
Non binary folks make compete in the category they deem most athletically and socially appropriate, up until the elite levels of competition. Then, they can either compete in the Open category, or the Womens (if they meet the T level criteria.)
I feel terribly sorry for Candi and Mike, who dedicated decades of their lives to creating a totally welcoming culture–along with very very good bicycle racing–for so many of us–polishing my OBRA medals now–profound thanks to the Murray family!
Why do you feel sorry for them Jim? Again, I don’t see any of this as being a terrible thing for OBRA. This is a challenging and complicated issue and of course it won’t be easy. But this is the type of work an organization must do and I think overall this has been a great learning experience for OBRA and the community at large. If anything, OBRA is better and stronger for having gone through this. And it’s not over! They have big board elections coming up and hopefully they’ll find some great new leaders to continue the journey into being an even better and more inclusive org.
Good point, Jonathan. I do not know any of the people related to this case, but many nonprofit boards take anyone with a pulse who is willing to attend the meetings (and sometimes not even the latter). Just because someone is a stand-out athlete doesn’t mean she has the skills to serve effectively on a board.
To me this was far less about a board member’s personal belief that trans women should be forced to compete in a separate but equal class, not great but also probably not enough of a reason to remove her from the board. It was really about that board member’s inability to have a conversation about her belief without aggressively misgendering athletes and generally being a giant POS in the way she was treating people which was reflecting very badly on the whole organization. It seemed like OBRA perhaps agreed and was willing to let her stay if she stopped with the vitriol, but if anything she seemed bent on continuing down that path, which perhaps is the real reason she was asked to leave as much as her inexplicable decision to talk about a confidential executive session. Which by the way I have never been on a board but I know that the whole point of executive sessions is to be able to have open conversations and come to a decision without having all of that dirty laundry out in the open and I can’t imagine that Inga didn’t actually know that when she started talking about it. Doing so put anyone else who was there in the uncomfortable position of not being to challenge anything that she might say that was inaccurate without themselves violating the executive session rules. I don’t think ES should be used often, but when it is it is super disrespectful of fellow board members to break that confidentiality and she had to know that.
You are wondering why we have sports at all? I don’t quite see the relevance of that question, but I invite you to clarify.
“You are wondering why we have sports at all?”
No not wondering at all.
I fully understand the concept and see it just as bread and circus to distract us from the real plights of society.
I was asking you why you think we should have sports given how much I can articulate an opinion of how much harm they cause. I’m sure you could argue validity of sports for society in some capacity, I’d like to see how that contrasts to the idea that you should not measure one’s qualities based on physical merits. I think at the end of the day that really is where the buck stops for me. I would believe you can’t without stating thats its sole purpose is to measure the quality of someone based on a physical merit. I’m curious to see what someone who has been trying to be objective in a contentious conversation has to say about that.
Josh, your bread and circus references were foreign to me. That lead to an interweb search for understanding. Of course…the Romans. Reminds me that there really are no new problems (or solutions) in human relations. Thank you.
This issue goes back I’m sure beyond there, Its sad to think we still haven’t figured it out as a society. Its like we want to be played.
Probably no one will ever read this comment, and I do not know any of the players in this situation, but I will venture to say that some people do not have the skills to serve on boards. That’s my overall assessment of this situation. Sad.
David Saltzberg’s comment is a perfect display of his lack of commitment to keeping Oregon bike racing inclusive.
I’m personally not a huge fan of BikePortland (the irony of my comment here is not lost on me). With my bias disclosed, I think BP has been fair and accurate and Jonathan has not used his articles to instigate the masses.
You’re usually in the wrong when incensed by the factual reporting of current events.
The tarnished image of himself and the board is their work alone. They hid behind proceduralism, presented hurtful comments and actions as a matter of opinion, and then made empty promises that sound like some corporate PR firm promising “inclusivity training.” His apathetic and barbed comments dig his grave deeper.
As a bike racer, I’m disappointed to have supported his races. It’s a real shame because the Grand Prix CX races are some of the best memories I have in racing.
And to leave this off, what exactly are his “better things to do”? I would think inclusiveness is something that concerns him putting on OBRA races. But maybe he just wants to get back to catering to Masters 50+ men and wants these annoyances like “concern for trans people in the racing community” to blow over.
If a trans woman crushes women’s category, people freak out. If a trans man crush men’s category, people celebrate. The sport is in a conundrum…
It is hard to answer your question, JM, without delving into the long standing social pathologies that beset our country. But nobody wants that.
The best answer would be to watch “The Wizard of Oz” as many times as required for those pathologies to rise from our deep unconscious to the conscious forefront of our minds. Not an easy movie to comprehend.
Another answer would be that the LGBTQ++ phenomenon has little if anything to do with the dreadful treatment gay and trans people have endured in our society. But OBRA, always sterling, was treating everyone just fine long before statements about “passionate membership,” “mission of inclusiveness,” “diversity, equity, and inclusion” jingoed their psychobabbling ways into its “leadership.” They are the very enablement of the hyper-destructive passive-aggressive “followership” now on display everywhere.
Yet another answer would be concerted study of the “Summa Theologica.” Also the opening chapters of the “Book of Genesis.”
I agree that OBRA could do well long into the future. But it will be quite a different OBRA. I chatted with Candi at the cyclocross event at Oaks Park last month. I learned that Mike still hates cyclocross, but has purchased an expensive BMX machine to ride alongside his grandson. (“Chill bike, dude!”)
Then I broached the subject of what to do when we lose the sacred ground of Alpenrose. I noted that Tualatin Valley Parks and Recreation has a very strong tax base and excellent record of building superb venues for participant sports. OBRA should be dealing with them right now. Candi would not be drawn in, stating several times that the Murray family will no longer be engaged in OBRA business. More than understandable.
We have lost the wonderful OBRA of yore. This was in no way due to the 1 in 20 people who are gay, the 1 in 200 trans or potentially trans. It was due solely to the LGBTQ++ tifosi and their peculiar paranoia. The new OBRA certainly cannot be built by them.