About the Program
BikePGH’s Women and Non-Binary Program is inclusive of cis women, intersex people, non-binary, genderqueer, trans, agender and gender variant folks, as well as those whose gender identity falls outside of the dominant conceptions of gender. The program encourages conversation and provides spaces to come together over biking, advocacy and related topics while increasing representation of people who have historically marginalized gender identities.
We aim to create a safer space where people can speak and move freely, expressing themselves authentically without added fear of microaggressions and discrimination due to gender and expression. By opening the discussion about our lived experiences and challenges, we can assess how to better provide support and resources to ride bikes and increase mobility in Pittsburgh.
The programming includes an annual forum, monthly group rides, coffee meetups, and assorted workshops and classes. The program was founded in 2012 with the making of a zine, and the first forum in 2013. It has since grown to provide year-round offerings.
For your convenience, we’ve compiled some frequently asked questions about the WMNBikePGH program:
- Why does a program specifically for Women and Non-Binary people need to exist?It is important to create space for groups of people who are not able to access mainstream and dominant cultural experiences due to a marginalized identity. Women and Non-Binary people are historically underrepresented in the bicycle industry, racing, advocacy and more. Biking was a central part of the women’s liberation movement, and today continues to be an inspiring force in providing agency, access, exercise, right to self-determination of space and time.
- How can I respect people and their gender identities?
- Ask for people’s pronouns and never assume pronouns or identity based on how you perceive them.
- Respect everyone’s names, gender pronouns, expressed identities and experiences.
- Speak from an “I” standpoint, speak for yourself and share your own story.
- Do not ask intrusive questions or revolve conversations around peoples’ identity.
- Avoid using language that assumes gender identities, like “ladies and gentlemen.” Sweeping generalizations are never a good idea.
- Challenge gender oppression/discrimination when it occurs. Advocacy is a hugely important part of gender equity, and gender equity is intrinsically linked to the realization of human rights and liberation for all oppressed people.
- Practice active listening to the person you are talking to, rather than focusing on your response, or forcibly relating back and inserting your own experience.
- How can cis-men support this program? Are cis-men allowed at the WMNBikePGH events?
- Cis-men and all people can support by continuing their learning about gender expression, inequity and gender marginalization and by being mindful of their use of language, physical gestures and expression, being aware of the space they take up, asking questions and never assuming people’s identities.
- Many aspects of mainstream bike culture can be unwelcoming for those who do not benefit from cis-male privilege. WMNBikePGH events are purposefully free from cis-men in order to create safe, inviting spaces with less fear of gender oppression and to amplify marginalized voices in the cycling community. WMNBikePGH strives to make safer spaces by respecting people and their preferred names and pronouns, not making assumptions about gender, and cultivating an atmosphere of respect and inclusion.
- Rather than focusing on feelings of exclusion, we hope cis-men work to develop compassion, understanding and at the very least respect for those who are simply seeking a safe space to bike and meet new people.
- How have women and non-binary people been historically underrepresented in bicycling?
- Women and non-binary people are underrepresented in bicycle industry leadership positions, including the boards of national industry and advocacy organizations. They also remain underrepresented within the majority of transport planning and engineering teams who design the cycling infrastructure for our streets.
- Women and non binary people are often subject to double standards around bike racing and competition, or don’t have a place created for them at all.
- How have safe spaces for women and non-binary people been successful in other capacities?Creating safer spaces for people with marginalized gender and/or sexuality is common across the US. Here are some of our sibling programs:
- Are there other local Women & Non-Binary specific bicycling groups?