Splendid Cycles Big Sale

Street Trust renames ‘Women Bike’ program to be more inclusive

Posted by on January 15th, 2020 at 11:52 am

A recent We Bike PDX gathering at Peninsula Park in north Portland.
(Photos courtesy Caroline Crisp/The Street Trust)

An initiative by The Street Trust to tackle the gender gap in cycling wants to become more inclusive.

“We know that a barrier to cycling is feeling unsafe in public spaces and that non-binary and trans people are deeply affected by this.”
— The Street Trust

The nonprofit announced this week that their “Women Bike” program is now called We Bike PDX.

“Historically and today, cycling spaces for women have excluded and hurt transgender and non-binary people,” reads a statement from the organization. “To end this pattern we are changing the name of our program to establish an inclusive path forward. While we have supported non-binary and trans people in the Women Bike program, the name does not reflect our values and our members. In our political climate, with the rise of hate crimes, we understand that now more than ever, we must be there and fight for people with vulnerable yet powerful identities.”

We Bike PDX started as Women Bike in 2015 and has grown to a community with regular events and an active Facebook group with over 1,600 members. The program is sponsored by Metro, the Federal Transit Administration, and Street Trust donors and members.

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Wrench nights, where participants learn bike repair and maintenance, are a popular activity.

Street Trust staffer Caroline Crisp says the group wants to be more intentional about providing a safe space. “We know now that there are many barriers and types of marginalization that occur in our public spaces that are shared among trans people of all genders, gender non-conforming folx, two spirit, and (cis) women. We also know that a barrier to cycling is feeling unsafe in public spaces and that non-binary and trans people are deeply affected by this. More than one in four trans people have faced a bias-driven assault, and rates are higher for trans women and trans people of color.”

To keep the group welcoming and respectful The Street Trust outlines several guidelines to all members of its Facebook page. Those include the use of gender-neutral greetings like “folx” and “friends” instead of “ladies” and including preferred pronouns in introductions and respecting the pronouns of others.

“To those who have felt excluded because of the name Women Bike, we are deeply sorry,” Crisp shared in a statement to members. “We see your fight and will use our power to fight for you and ensure you are included and able to thrive in cycling spaces.”

We Bike PDX has regular group rides (including one this Saturday), wrench nights and social meet-ups. Learn more on The Street Trust website or Facebook.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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T
Guest
T

I’m truly curious how the trend toward gender-neutral language and spaces will affect reporting and statistics on the participation and successes of women. Gender-neutral spaces are mixed-sex spaces, and men still have the power in them.
Isn’t ‘folks’ already a gender-neutral word?

buzz
Guest
buzz

Or y’all?

buzz
Guest
buzz

I nominate for PC thread of the new year!

Rachel Cameron
Subscriber
Rachel Cameron

WeBikePDX is a space for women (cis and trans), non-binary and two spirit people. There are no cis men in power. And the use of folx instead of folks is just a signifier that trans people are welcome. Folks is gender neutral, definitely, the term folx is just used to make sure people know that people out of the binary are also welcome.

Allowing gender neutral or gender non conforming people into our spaces won’t take away women’s “power.” Not bringing them into our spaces only helps the patriarchy.

BikeRound
Guest
BikeRound

I live in northern New Jersey, which, similarly to Portland, is a liberal part of the country that votes overwhelmingly Democratic. Yet even around here, I noticed in conversations with friends and acquaintances that the extremism of your views is completely outside the political mainstream. For example, members of my running club are terrified that women’s sports are going to be destroyed if we allow biological males to compete as women. All of the women that I know would bristle at the suggestion that we live in a “patriarchy.” In school, at work and in the courts, women have far more privileges than men in our society. If those who are advocating for more sensible transportation policies are going to be seen as being associated with extremist ideologies, how are we going to be able to build the broad political support that our movement needs? We should be portraying an image of moderation and reasonableness, not extremism and ***insulting word deleted by moderator***.

Rachel Cameron
Subscriber
Rachel Cameron

Well, since you live in New Jersey I’m not sure why I’m even replying to you on a Portland bike blog, but my views are not extremist.

The FACTS are that we do live in a patriarchy. That you “think” the women you know would disagree shows that you don’t live in as liberal of an area as you seem to believe (or women don’t feel comfortable sharing their views with you).

Members of your running club should look at the science and the actual statistics that allowing trans women in sport will not destroy women’s sports, in fact, it increases participation.

And I’m dying to know how women have far more privilege in society, please enlighten me. Is it the rape statistics, or the wage gap, or all the legislation around women’s bodies and health that makes you feel that way? I’m so intrigued.

BikeRound
Guest
BikeRound

Both the voting record of New Jersey’s voters and public opinion surveys have shown that northern New Jersey is much more liberal than the nationwide average. I actually attended university in a very conservative state in the Upper Midwest, so I have personal experience of the differences in the prevailing norms and attitudes in various parts of the country.

Now I would like to address your question as to how women are privileged. Employers are under tremendous social and legal pressure to hire and promote more women, even when more qualified men are readily available (this is true where I work as well). In her book titled “The Diversity Delusion,” Heather Mac Donald uses hiring at the University of California as a case study. Mac Donald describes how Maria Sobek, UC Santa Barbara’s highly-paid associate vice chancellor for diversity, equity and academic policy, and just one member of a huge number of bureaucrats tasked with devising ways to discriminate against men, herself admitted that the university advantages female candidates. If after using objective criteria, a hiring committee ends up with only male finalists, Sobek will force the committee to bring in some women who are, in her words owns, “may be just borderline.” The upshot is that marginally qualified women are regularly hired over much more accomplished men.

Similarly to Mac Donald, the online newsmagazine Inside Higher Ed regularly publishes articles about how institutions of higher education privilege women. Just as an example, in a 2017 article, a dean at Boston College explained how their search committees are now focused on equity, which is quickly becoming one of the most popular code words for discrimination—which is technically illegal, but universities routinely flout the law.

Since you brought up the issue of rape, we should note Christina Hoff Sommers has already provided solid analysis in a book published in 1994 that showed that the incidence of rape on college campuses is quite rare. According to the best available evidence, approximately one in 50 women are raped during their college years.

I could easily continue cataloguing women’s privilege over men in our society until we would literally end up with a book, but I don’t want to take up so much space here. So there is just one other point I would like to make that you may not have thought of. Let’s look at how we as a society judge and the justice system adjudicates violent acts. Men are much more likely to commit to certain types of violence, such as physical assaults, and those are punished extremely severely by the courts. However, when it comes to vehicular homicide, a crime where the perpetrators are much more evenly split between men and women, the punishment tends to be light to nonexistent. We have decided as a society that sacrificing 40,000 lives is well worth it if it means that women can get away with their criminal behavior.

X
Guest
X

Well, I forget a lot of stuff, but I haven’t forgotten the US Senate committee composed of a bunch of white guys of a certain age pontificating on women’s health issues.

Still got a ways to go.

Danny Ryan
Guest
Danny Ryan

“In school, at work and in the courts, women have far more privileges than men in our society.”

How could someone make a statement like this and hope to be taken seriously?

BikeRound
Guest
BikeRound

I make my living as a comedian.

kate
Guest
kate

this is great news. way to go, street trust!

Caroline
Guest
Caroline

Hi Kate! Thanks for your support! We are really excited you are excited about it .

Jim Lee
Guest
Jim Lee

Could someone please explain to me what LGBTQ++ advocates mean exactly by “non-binary?”

In 1865 the physicist Gregor Mendel tried to explain to Charles Darwin that “inheritance,” what we now call “genetics,” is not a continuous function able to assume any value whatever, but is strongly mediated by discrete entities that later became to be called “genes.” The exact nature of these discrete entities was ascertained in 1953 by Watson, Crick, Wilkins, and the brilliantly tragic physicist Rosalind Franklin, whose X-ray crystalography provided the ineluctable experimental basis for the astounding breakthrough.

We call this “DNA.”

This basis for ALL life is absolutely binary. All genetic information is coded in sequences of base pairs A-T and C-G. The consequences of this is something we still are trying to adjust our thinking to.

All life, from single cells to LGBTQ++ persons, is inherently and absolutely binary. Nothing alive can possibly be “non-binary.”

tekniklr
Guest
tekniklr

Biological sex, gender identity, and gender expression are all different.

Gender identity and expression are not binary at all, and can exist at any point on (or even outside of) a spectrum.

Even biological sex is less binary than your highschool biology class might have taught you. Intersex people exist, and always have.

Caroline
Guest
Caroline

Hi there! Thank you for taking the time to write this message, I understand how this can be frustrating and we really appreciate your comment.

Brian
Guest
Brian

Is this a serious question? I seriously cannot tell. A simple google search should help.

Cliff
Guest
Cliff

LGBTQ++ advocates use “non-binary” to refer to individuals who do not identify within the gender binary that has historically been violently imposed upon all by the dominant culture. The dominant culture only acknowledges two genders, assigned at birth: male and female. Individuals who are non-binary are individuals who are not male or female. It’s that straightforward.

All your talk about genes is totally irrelevant. Hair color is genetically determined, but there are more than two colors of hair to be found. Moreover, gender is a social phenomenon and cannot be reduced to genotype—just as whether someone is a teacher, firefighter, or biologist is not reducible to someone’s genes, neither is someone’s gender. Do you say that one’s career is a binary property just because someone with a career has genes?

BradWagon
Subscriber

“Violently Imposed”…

And we wonder why these movements are met with so much pushback? I hope my own son and daughter can some day forgive me for such violent and oppressive pronoun use by her mother and I during their childhood.

TheCowabungaDude
Guest

Maybe it’s met with pushback because people are so quick to take things personally. This movement is not singling anybody out – it is lifting up those whose voices have been squashed. It sounds like you weren’t violent but you could definitely find stories of people who have been violently oppressed from expressing themselves.

BradWagon
Subscriber

Not doubting that and am fully supportive of rooting that kind of treatment out. But the language used by Cliff diminishes those actual wrongs by grouping in something as benign as calling males and females boys and girls at birth based on chromosomal sex. This is what leads many that are even supportive of efforts like this (myself) to roll their eyes, I can only imagine the reaction to such language from someone more conservative in their views or on fence about this issue. Not to mention it’s an easy thing for those are the other side to point to and label as fanaticism.

Another general point that can be confusing is when there are huge efforts to say “trans women are women” but then there is also a concerted effort to rename something from “women ___” to be more inclusive of… trans… women. Granted this specific case encompasses other gender identities as well. The larger point being, just like any group of people, the LGBQT community is not immune to a range of different views that can be confusing for others to parse. Not that any group should or even can alone be responsible for policing or clarifying this for others but everyone should be aware of it and slow to make judgement based on any individual views. And to those that do have views and use language such as Cliff’s, maybe consider other ways to best communicate with people not familiar with the issue. Education doesn’t happen through assigning blame.

PdxPhoenix
Guest
PdxPhoenix

But the assignment of one’s _sex_ at birth is not defined by the person’s chromosomes … it is assigned by a simple & quick glance, and _only_ if what is observed doesn’t match ‘A’ or ‘B’ is any further investigation done.

Cliff
Guest
Cliff

Yes, gender and gender norms are certainly violently imposed. Countless trans and other members of the LGBTQ+ community are murdered every year simply because they do not conform to the dominant culture’s gender norms. Schoolchildren are bullied until they commit suicide. People are jailed because of who they love. Your ignorance of these things is entirely inexcusable and morally repugnant.

BikeRound
Guest
BikeRound

Out of the total of about 16,000 murders in the United States in 2018, how many victims were transgender? And of those who were transgender, how many were murdered because they were transgender (as opposed to being murdered due to issues related to their high-risk lifestyle, such as being engaged in prostitution)? How can we morally justify giving so much more attention to some tiny subsection of humanity compared to the thousands of murders that are wholly unrelated to being transgender?

Rachel Cameron
Subscriber
Rachel Cameron

Holy shit, please delete that comment, Jonathan.

Toby Keith
Guest
Toby Keith

Why? Who is BikeRound assaulting with their post? Good grief.

Rachel Cameron
Subscriber
Rachel Cameron

Trans people are murdered at a disproportionately high rate. Suggesting that it is because of prostitution is vile.

Redheads are a small subsection of humanity also, do you also not care when they are murdered?

How did this devolve into this? This article is about a fucking bike group changing their name. Stop being so reactionary.

Caroline
Guest
Caroline

Hi Rachel! Hell yeah, it is! And we are still super stoked about our name change! We expect nothing less than this from people who continue to benefit from patriarchy. Thank you for all of your emotional labor, it is unfortunate that these views are tolerated in certain hegemonic cycling spaces, but they are not in ours.

X
Guest
X

It’s a small sample, but the trans people I know seem to have forgotten to start selling sex. What’s up with that?

SusanRosenthal
Guest
SusanRosenthal

I think it is important to note that some transgender people engage in sex work because they are marginalized. The fact that hey are murdered at high rates is in part related to risky behavior, but the risky behavior is related to rejection.

Sarah
Guest
Sarah

“Nonbinary” in this context refers to people who do not identify as either male or female. As I understand it, this can mean many different things for different people: feeling and/or presenting oneself as sometimes more masculine, sometimes more feminine; feeling “in between” male and female, feeling like one doesn’t have a gender at all, and lots of other options.

If (like me) you feel pretty comfortable identifying with the gender on your birth certificate, this can be a little confusing at first. I’ve learned a lot from listening to trans and nonbinary friends and public figures on social media.

Sarah
Guest
Sarah

Follow up to my previous comment: Here’s some information on people with nonbinary genders from the National Center for Transgender Equality: https://transequality.org/issues/resources/understanding-non-binary-people-how-to-be-respectful-and-supportive

Caroline
Guest
Caroline

Hi Sarah! Ya I hear where your coming from, thank you for taking the time to educate your self about the very real discrimination and language of people in our community. <3

BikeRound
Guest
BikeRound

If their goal is to expand the pool of potential recruits to their club, what are they doing to make sure that Republicans feel welcome? In Multnomah County, about 68,000 individuals voted Republican in 2016, which is orders of magnitude larger than the number of transgender individuals.

Cliff
Guest
Cliff

It’s common knowledge that 100% of Republicans are secretly members of the LGBTQ+ community, so I think that this move will benefit them.

Jonathan K
Guest
Jonathan K

If you join as a bike fanatic, I’m sure you’ll be welcome! If you join looking to push people’s buttons, you’ll probably be less welcome. But bike advocacy should absolutely be bipartisan. If you don’t feel welcome at this club, go start a Republican bike club! We need all the help we can get! 🙂

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

Political views are not binary. They are a spectrum.

JP
Guest
JP

Why is it incumbent on them to make Republicans feel welcome?

BikeRound
Guest
BikeRound

It is incumbent on them to make Republicans feel welcome for two reasons. One, because that is the decent thing to do, especially when there are tens of thousands of Republicans just in Portland. Two, because as advocates for cycling, our success is going to be limited if we do not learn to build bridges between disparate parts of the body politic.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

You gotta love it when someone uses another person’s logic against them.

q
Guest
q

That doesn’t make sense to me. Why is it “the decent thing to do” to make any random group feel particularly welcome by a club whose focus aims at other groups?

And while of course “build(ing) bridges between disparate parts of the body politic” is worthwhile, that doesn’t mean it has to happen within individual groups or clubs. It’s fine to have groups that focus on attracting and catering to particular parts of the population. In fact, that’s sort of the point of having focused groups or clubs. Those clubs can work with other clubs to advocate, while remaining differentiated.

Having a range of cycling groups in the area, with some focused on serving small segments of the population or focusing on narrow cycling interests, and others serving larger segments of the population or focusing on more generalized aspects of cycling, is a good thing. Just as it’s a good thing when an individual group reviews its own mission or goals (or name) and makes changes to help it serve the members it has and the ones it wants to attract.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

It’s akin to an all-male golf club, but with bikes.

q
Guest
q

But more like an all-female golf club, but with bikes.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Actually more like a non-male golf club, but with bikes.

q
Guest
q

Yes.

Granpa
Guest
Granpa

Is an incumbent republican a recumbent?

q
Guest
q

Who’s saying their goal was simply “to expand the pool of potential recruits to their club”?

Of course the group knows that there are more Republicans than transgender individuals in Portland, just as I’m sure they know there are even more men, say, than Republicans.

The goal of the change seemed very clear and logical to me–to make some particular groups of people feel more welcome, not to create a large club of diluted focus.

Sarah
Guest
Sarah

I’ve attended several of their events in the past and was really happy to see this change in terminology and an explicit statement of inclusion for trans women, nonbinary people, and other gender minorities. Makes me feel more comfortable inviting friends to their events!

Caroline
Guest
Caroline

Hi Sarah, I am so stoked you are happy with our change. 🙂 We love having you as apart of the group!

J
Guest
J

Good move Street Trust <3

Caroline
Guest
Caroline

Thanks J, we have a lot of confidence in this move! We are really excited about it.

Steve Scarich
Guest
Steve Scarich

I have a question about ‘re-namings’. This sort of thing alienates me, only because it changes from a title that has meaning to me, to one that does not. Same thing when Street Trust was re-named. Now, it is quite possible that the problem is me, and my age/generation. I am 72, long time devoted cyclist (65 years) and sometimes local activist. Much of the new gender terminology just goes over my head, and happens too fast for me to keep track. Also, my contemporaries do not use the new jargon, so it is just not part of our reality. Does anyone happen to have statistics on what happened to Street Trust’s membership numbers after the name change?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I let my long-time membership lapse when the BTA transformed itself from an organization focused on fighting tooth-and-nail for bicycling issues into a grant funded supplicant of its former opponents. The name change was a symptom rather than a cause of this change in orientation.

Cliff
Guest
Cliff

The problem is you, but it has nothing to do with your age. When you think you don’t understand something like gender, gender terminology, or anything else, what you need to do is pick up a book and try to learn something. There are plenty of fine, accessible, books written about gender—you just need to actually be interested in learning something and be open to the possibility that your current beliefs might be wrong.

They renamed Women Bike because it was the right thing to do. Whether this had a positive or negative impact on membership is besides the point—and their willingness to change the name even though they might lose members and revenue should be celebrated as an instance of a nonprofit prioritizing what is right over what brings in the dollars. But it seems that you think that they should be sticking to the status quo in order to keep the dollars flowing—I’m glad that you’re not in charge.

Rachel Cameron
Subscriber
Rachel Cameron

It has nothing to do with your age. My grandma just turned 90 and she has no problem using gender neutral (singular they/them) pronouns for my cousin.

Rachel Cameron
Subscriber
Rachel Cameron

“Those include the use of gender-neutral greetings like “folx” and “friends” instead of “ladies” and including preferred pronouns in introductions and respecting the pronouns of others.”

Can we all stop saying “preferred” pronouns, they are not a preference, they are just pronouns. Using “preferred” can accidentally insinuate that using the correct pronouns for someone is optional.

Caroline
Guest
Caroline

Hi Rachel, I promise to use your pronouns <3

Rachel Cameron
Subscriber
Rachel Cameron

Thanks! Mine are she/her. 🙂

joan
Subscriber

This is great leadership and modeling from Street Trust! Honestly, this makes me want to engage more with the program. Cheers!

Caroline
Guest
Caroline

Thanks Joan <3. We have a lot of confidence in our decision and are so happy you appreciate our move. We would love to have you in WeBikePDX!