30 Aug
2016

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Making Babes in Bikeland 10 a more inclusive event

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on August 30, 2016   comments 0

I was one of five organizers for Babes in Bikeland TEN this year.  Babes in Bikeland is the largest all-WTF alley cat bike race in the universe.  I wanted to write a post about some of our intentions around making Babes a more inclusive event, in addition to some structural ways we are creating safer spaces.

You might be surprised to hear that between the five of us WTFs, we span ages, include POC, non-binary, and queer folks.  It is important to us personally, and extremely relevant for our community that we support you Babes by making an event that doesn't center around whiteness, cis identities, heteropatriarchy.  WTFs TO THE FRONT!

In addition to creating safer spaces, here are some other things Babes is all about!

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Sica (Fox Den) and me and ALL OF YOU!

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30 Aug
2016

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Safer Spaces at Babes in Bikeland

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on August 30, 2016   comments 0

At Grease Rag, we know about WTF-only spaces, and about working towards safer spaces.  We acknowledge that no space is completely safe for any of us, but that safer spaces are places where we can be our whole selves because we agree to work together to fight the oppression and violence we experience in ALL OTHER SPACES.

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Babes in Bikeland is the largest all-WTF alley cat bike "race" in the whole world.  Likely, with 670+ riders in our 10th year, Babes is the largest alley cat in North America.  Through this event, Grease Rag has been able to create safer spaces and educate the many many people interested in the Babes event.

What is Babes in Bikeland's safer spaces policy?

BABES IN BIKELAND IS A SAFER SPACE

WHAT THE HECK DOES THIS MEAN?
A Safer Space means that we're working hard to make the space feel safe and welcoming for EVERY BODY, regardless of their gender/race/ability/orientation, etc.

WHAT DOES A “SAFER BIKE EVENT” MEAN?

It means that we are trying to stop those little things from happening.
The safety and comfort of our Babes is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING.

BUT I ALWAYS FEEL SAFE AT BIKE EVENTS? WHAT’S THE POINT OF THIS?!
You might always feel safe at bike events, but not everyone does.
Women/Trans*/Femmes (WTF) identified people often don't feel safe at bike events.
WHY? Things like constant sexual advances; hearing homophobic or transphobic “jokes”; hearing racist or homophobic language; using insider lingo or negatively commenting on someone’s gear or ability...
These things can make bike events into a hostile, stressful and dangerous place for some people.
It's not just the one bad apple, it's lots of people doing little things that pile up to create a threatening space.
Pay attention to your own words and actions and make sure you're not contributing to the pile.

HERE IS WHAT WE WANT YOU TO DO:

DON’T be a creep. We’re not here to impress, but to RIDE. Get enthusiastic consent before touching a Babe.
DON’T make homophobic or transphobic "jokes" or use language that is grounded in hate or discrimination.
NO gender policing. Don't know a Babe’s gender? That's fine — you don't need to know.
RIDE safe and steady with a helmet and lights. DON’T take unnecessary risks. We want you in one piece at the party later.
LEND a hand to those who need it.
BE EXCELLENT to one another.
We are all here to have a good time. Bring your best self and KEEP IT CLASSY.
If you feel uncomfortable, PLEASE tell someone working the stop or the closest Babe.
DON’T brush it off or excuse it away. We want to address these things as they happen.

WE ARE BABES! THIS IS OUR BIKELAND! THESE ARE THE RULES:

DON'T BE A JERK
CELEBRATE YOUR WTF FRIENDS
BE EXCELLENT TO EACH OTHER

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30 Aug
2016

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Pre-Babes Wanderabout 2016 Recap

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on August 30, 2016   comments 0

You never disappoint me with your beauty, Wanderers

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(Photo by Kat)

Ride Bikes - Slowly
Make Friends - Quickly
Learn * Teach * Trade Tips for Babes in Bikeland 10!

Pre-Babes Wanderabout is a WTF-only ride. (Women, Trans, Femme) No cis-males, or people that do not identify as WTF, please.

Pre-Babes Wanderabout is a slow, social ride. Conversational pace, NO ONE gets left behind. Come with an open mind. We'll help you talk to cool Babes you don't know yet!

Pre-Babes Wanderabout is a place to get more info about "alley cats," what to expect for Babes, and to connect with potential ride partners.

Pre-Babes Wanderabout is a safer space where all WTF identities are centered and respected. Please join with us in creating a safer space.

Did you attend the Wanderabout this year?

Please tell us what went well, and what could have been better!

Grease Rag made the Wanderabout possible

Anneka, Anne, Julia and I are so proud to use Grease Rag volunteers (JJ! Holly!) and re$ource$ to make this happen!  (We are donation based!  Feed the honey bear!)

Mod, my co-organizer for the Wanderabout for the past few years, told me that before the Wanderabout she kept hearing, "I ride my bike everyday & don't have friends that ride."  And AFTER the Wanderabout she kept hearing, "I had no idea this community existed. I'm going to ride everywhere!"  Magical.

The first Pre-Babes Wanderabout ride was in 2012. I wrote a blog post about it. 2014 was an amazing year. Last year's (2015) Wanderabout was magical.

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Photo by Siege Afidelia

Roll out together, arrive together!

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Photo by Buzo

68 riders came to Kenwood Park to share with each other!  When people arrived we handed out safer spaces flyers, and had people make name tags including their pronouns, if they felt safe doing so.  We do this so we can have a safe and respectful space, and to facilitate friendship!

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We gave an introduction to the evening, talking about what Grease Rag does (en español), what safers spaces are, and what the schedule was for the evening.  We had some experienced riders say a few quick words about their Babes riding styles, then the crowd self-selected into groups where the experienced riders lead skill-shares.  We didn't talk down to you, assume you know stuff, or blather on.  We ask you questions, and encourage people to share what they know!  Grease Rag style.

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Photo by JJ Kahle

For all the Rookies out there... We love you!

If you have never ever in your life ridden your bike in any race ever... No triathalons, no alley cats, no velodrome:  YOU ARE A ROOKIE! And we celebrate you.

Read about how Holly gets up and gets it!

Check out this rookie knowledge from Lauren Haun.

This is what Jen brings on their ride.

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Photo by Beth Walser

Thank you to Sidhe for sponsoring

As a beautiful dragon tail group ride, we rolled out with the party bike in the lead, to our next stop.  Yoga, Sidhe beer, music, group photo, and friendship!

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Sidhe Brewing is pronounced SHE and is WTF owned and operated out of St. Paul. Kathleen, the owner, was BUMMED she couldn't sponsor Babes this year (we didn't do a beer sponsor bc of the venue) but is SO ENTHUSIASTIC about WTFs on bikes that we were able to get crowlers of their beer for the Wanderabout!!

Grease Rag is real skittish about sponsorship. We ONLY work with companies that support WTFs, and not just by donating some swag here and there. I mean, talking the talk, walking (or wheeling or however you move!) the walk. Showing up for WTFs, and not calling us girls or ladies or saying what we do is "cute." We are bad ass feminists, we are trans, we are POC, we are queer, we are WTFs, we are proud!!!

Sidhe is a welcoming place. I was there last night and was so treated well! There's a "pay it forward" board. I redeemed a QPOC beer, and replaced it with a QTPOC and QPOC beer. Get there and redeem those beers, Friends!

Finally, we slow rolled to another beautiful area to eat snacks together.

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(Photo by Anneka)

I went home nourished, and fulfilled!  Thank you, Babes.  You mean the world to me.

We've got your back

Babes be brunchin' is an annual brunch leading up to Babes in Bikeland, where you can meet up, eat and hydrate, get any lingering questions answered, and roll out to the start together.  Thank you to Anne for hosting this brunch!

Our goal at Grease Rag is to contribute to supporting the WTF community before, during, and after Babes in Bikeland.  Babes in Bikeland is a celebration event of the work we do ALL YEAR ROUND to have open shops, POC only spaces, WTF only spaces, WTF only group rides, full moon rides, parties, craft nights, online discussions, pronoun buttons, education about safer spaces, the inclusive atmosphere, the colored flags, skill shares, bike camping trips, picnics, this blog and winter biking support... all ways we have your back 365 days of the year.

Don't let this Babes be the last time you support WTF spaces!

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27 Jul
2016

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WTF is WTF?

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on July 27, 2016   comments 0

WTF (what the f*ck) is WTF (women, trans, femme)?

Working definition:

  1. Absolutely anyone who self-idenifies as "Women, Trans, Femme"
  2. Abbreviation for a term of empowering endearment for people who do not benefit from cis male (when you are assigned male at birth and you identify as a man) privilege. (Examples of cis privilege and discussion of intersectionality)

WTF...

WTF applies to the beautiful rainbow of identities who do not benefit from cis male privilege including, but absolutely not limited to: Cis women/trans men/trans women who are masculine/feminine of center, cis men who do not benefit from cis male privilege, trans folks, unicorns, gender queer, agender, gender fluid, folks who are gender non-conforming, gender fuckers, butches, bois, queens, sissies, femmes...

WTF is not about bodies, WTF is about self-identification.

WTF declares that, although we occupy a huge spectrum of identities, we stand in solidarity and community other struggles against ableism, sexism, homophobia, transmisogyny, transphobia, racism, classism, Islamaphobia and other oppressive powers.

WTF means that we never tear each other down, but we always intentionally work to lift each other up.

Etomology:

This cheeky abbreviation is from the San Francisco Bike Kitchen.  Grease Rag voted on this for our mission statement in winter, 2009.

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What would you add? What would you change? What does WTF mean to you?

14 Jun
2016

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#IamPulse

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on June 14, 2016   comments 0

This weekend the largest mass shooting in America since Wounded Knee took place in Orlando, Florida. The Pulse, a gay club celebrating Pride, was targeted during a Latinx night, and most of the 50 people who lost their lives belonged to the Latinx queer community. Over 100 people were shot.

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This Was a Hate Crime Against Queer and Trans People of Color

It is important to recognize that people who have GLBQ orientation, and folks who identify as transgender, have historically been the subject of violence and exclusion. Policies against gay relationships and families are periodically violently enforced, and widespread discrimination makes being queer and trans unsafe. Just in the last SIX MONTHS there have been over 200 bills filed against GLBT people The effects of this discrimination, homophobia and transphobia are compounded for queer and trans folks of color.

This attack was specific in its devastation of queer Latinxs.  About half of the people killed were Puerto Rican, and many were immigrants.  Here is a local perspective on why this matters, and why naming Latinxs provides visibility, which is the smallest way we can share power with a community often marginalized and excluded even within the queer community.

This is why our communities are mourning and asking for change.

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We Need to Center Latinx Queer and Trans Voices and Experiences

It is my intention to focus on the people and community who were attacked in Orlando.  Please take this opportunity to see the faces and read the stories of the 49 murder victims.  Most of them were queer people of color.  They are important. Their lives absolutely mattered.

To further center the community in Orlando, we would like to share this video featuring trans and queer Latinxs responding to the tragedy.  Powerful words, and crucial perspective.

Trans and Queer Latinxs Respond to #PulseOrlando Shooting

After the news of 50 people killed at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL, we asked four Trans and Queer Latinx leaders for their thoughts. Here you will find the raw and unscripted footage. ‪#‎Pulse‬ ‪#‎PulseOrlando‬ ‪#‎OrlandoShooting‬ ‪#‎LGBTQIA‬ ‪#‎queer‬ ‪#‎trans‬ ‪#‎latinx‬

"How will you challenge the narrative of the ‪#‎PulseOrlando‬ murders?"

I will center Queer, Trans, and POC voices, and I will center the affected community. I will center the experiences of the Latinx queer and trans community. I will attack the systemic and structural oppression that works to marginalize QTPOC people. I will not be distracted by politicians, petitions for gun control that don't protect QTPOC folks, or Islamophobia.

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