***This post was written by Laura Kling and originally posted on the Grease Rag Ride and Wrench blog.***
Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition graciously asked Kat and I to talk about Grease Rag and Babes in Bikeland at one of their volunteer-organized happy hour talks, Wednesday, August 20.
We had so much fun! We got to explain what we do and how we roll to a really friendly crowd, share some beers at Republic, and hopefully convince some new people to ride Babes in Bikeland this year.
Kat and I spoke about Grease Rag's Herstory, what "WTF" means, what our open shop events look like, WHY safer WTF-only spaces are important, our community partnership model, and other ways we support the WTF community.
Preparation is key...
Kat presented the Babes in Bikeland herstory, what the event is all about, and why it is an important event for our community. And I pushed the Pre-Babes Wanderabout as a fun, social, introduction to Babes.
We were asked really good questions, too! Here are some of them, with short answers.
What does "cis" mean?
"Cis" refers to people who have the privilege of having their sex match up with what society assumes their gender to be. "Cisgender male" refers to a man that was born with a male body, and "cisgender female" refers to a woman that was born with a female body.
What are the six open shop locations?
Sunrise Cyclery in Uptown, Recovery Bike Shop in Northeast, Venture North in Near North, SPOKES in Seward, U of M Hub Bike Center, and The Grease Pit in Philips.
What does "femme" mean?
Femme is part of our acronym, "WTF." We include "femme" to include a larger community than what people typically think of when they hear of a "women's group." We are not a "women's group," we are a group for people that do not benefit from non-cisgender male privilege.
What does the astrisk mean after "trans*?"
Some people are only aware of transwomen and transmen, but there is a whole range of non-cisgenders that we want to include, so we use the asterisk to indicate that.
What is a "safer space"?
Safer spaces are not "safe" spaces. Grease Rag wants to create spaces and events where we commit to set clear guidelines with the goal of fighting sexism and transmisogyny. We commit to "have your back," and work to educate everyone that enters our spaces, and to react when space guidelines are violated. But at the end of the day, we cannot control the actions of everyone, and cannot realistically promise a "safe space."
What is the age range of participants?
We typically do not invite unaccompanied minors to our open shop nights, but you can always contact the location and ask! We have participants and facilitators that are in their mid-sixties that attend our open shops, and an even wider range of ages that attend our other events.
After the event, our friend Jenny lead a social ride as another way for WTFs to get some experience riding together and make friends before Babes. There will be other social rides as we get closer to the race, too! Thanks, Jenny!