Did a LGBT Member Group start?

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cycling-claire
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Did a LGBT Member Group start?

Postby cycling-claire » 31 May 2009, 1:15pm

Did a LGBT Member Group start?

Or was it not needed?

My local Section (Shrewsbury of the Shropshire & Mid Wales DA as was) are marvellous and just about the friendliest bunch of cyclists you would wish to meet.

But that doesn't mean that discrimination does not go on in the CTC, some unthinking and some malicious, because it does. I have been on the receiving end of this, even resulting in my resigning from local DA committee. But it is nothing to that compared with some 'racers' I have come across, with poor attitudes endemic within the whole institutional setup.

So do I feel the need personally for a separate Member Group? No, but an additional Member Group would be a good idea. Until LGBT is a total non-subject for discussion (due to lack of interest) and until all LGBT people feel there is no further need for Pride Marches and such, we need to continue to educate the world at large till that day arrives.

Cycling-Claire :)

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Cunobelin
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Re: Did a LGBT Member Group start?

Postby Cunobelin » 31 May 2009, 1:57pm

I had a similar problem last year (although not on the same scale) when the recumbent and HPVs were moved to a "specialist group"

I always wonder whether marking these groups as needing a particular section of their own is discriminatory in itself.

Surely we simply being a member of the broad Church that is cycling, and should accept everyone...

(Except those who use single panniers of course)

Richard
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Re: Did a LGBT Member Group start?

Postby Richard » 31 May 2009, 2:37pm

When I go cycling I don't feel any need to discuss my sexuality with people. Nor do I discuss my political or religious opinions. As a consequence I seem to get on with everyone just fine; enjoying the "craic" that comes with being a cyclist and cycling with people. I get the feeling that LGBT people (as well as other minority groups who want to further their cause) seem to have to make their cause an issue in everything they do almost as if to say "come on, I want you hate me for it". If they just turned up, joined in and cycled and didn't mention anything about it they wouldn't have a problem. There's no member group for cyclists that like blond women wearing stockings. I'm sure there's a few cyclists (men and women) who like that sort of thing but they don't come along to clubs and say 'and by the way I'm a stocking lover what's your problem with it?".
If you don't make an issue of it, it won't be an issue.

Now, before you all call me a nasty sexist, I can assure you that I have absolutely no problem with LGBT people or blacks, whites, asians, gypsies, short people, fat people or anybody else for that matter. Discrimination is unacceptable and we should be ensuring that the members that practice it are in no doubt that it will not be tolerated in the CTC and if necessary have their membership / DA status withdrawn. However, we should not be pandering to every minority view just to appear politically correct. Specialist groups are for cycling related interests - audax, touring, visiting historic monuments etc. not for sexual or other other preferences.

cycling-claire
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Re: Did a LGBT Member Group start?

Postby cycling-claire » 31 May 2009, 8:37pm

Richard wrote:When I go cycling I don't feel any need to discuss my sexuality with people............. I get the feeling that LGBT people (as well as other minority groups who want to further their cause) seem to have to make their cause an issue in everything they do almost as if to say "come on, I want you hate me for it"..............


Thanks for your reply, Richard. I don't feel the need to discuss, on the club ride, at all. But it is others, not on the club ride, who bring it up by 'comments'. If you 'get the feeling that LGBT people seem to make their cause an issue' then I assume that you have first hand knowledge of at least a few people doing so, or is this a perceived feeling gained from elsewhere? I see you live in rural Pembrokeshire and your CTC locally is probably not too disimilar from mine in Shrewsbury. But I suspect that LGBT people in urban and inner city areas have a completely different take on their inclusion within their locality.

While CTC is not particularly competetive, Audax UK is to a small measure and some of their members tried to make an issue out a connected issue a few years ago. After all, competetive cycling is one of few sports in the UK that still discriminate overtly against LGBT people, arguably illegal at present and most likely definately after the passing of the Equality Act.

Parliament is currently dealing with the Equality Bill, having reached the Committee Stage. I suppose that they wouldn't bother unless someone thought it necessary that equality be enshrined in legislation.

I don't what you to hate me for it, there are more than enough of those people to go round as it is. As for furthering 'my cause', I'm not. I'm defending it from attacks from others who, generally, arrive at their bigotted opinions from ignorance.


Cycling-Claire

Richard
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Re: Did a LGBT Member Group start?

Postby Richard » 31 May 2009, 10:58pm

Claire,

Firstly, my apologies, having reread my post I think I went off on a bit of a rant which was not my intention. I understand it's an important issue to you and I want to try and contribute constuctively to the debate.

I'm not a member of the CTC but I do cycle with the local road club and have seen nothing that would lead me to believe they would be anything other than welcoming to anyone who may come along to ride.
I must admit that I find it difficult to understand why an LGBT cyclist in urban/inner city environments should have any greater issues than those in rural areas. Surely a person goes along to a cycling club for the cycling? Being LGBT doesn't mean that person has special needs in the cycling sense. They are just people, indistinguishable from the rest of the population. If they don't say "I'm LGBT" then noone knows and won't have cause to trouble them about it. It's no different to someone turning up at a club event and declaring they're pro abortion. Why say it because it's not relevant and if you do so then they'd better be prepared for a hard time because not everyone is going to agree with them. Let's also remember that not liking someone's way of life/views is not necessarily discrimination.

Sexuality, along with religion, politics etc. are not cycling issues and for that reason I don't believe it's right to have a member group for it. If we have LGBT groups then it's not unreasonable to have pro-euthenasia groups, pro and anti abortion groups, hetrosexual groups etc. None of these are relevant or necessary. I'm not saying the rights of LGBT people aren't important, just not in a cycling sense.

HOWEVER.......

What is required is a clear policy in the CTC , Audax UK and other cycling organizations that discrimination on any basis is unacceptable. If it's found out that someone is LGBT and is prevented from standing on the committee because of it then a tough stance should be taken. Similarly on race, religion etc. To repeat my first post, those members and DAs that practice true discrimination have no place in the CTC.

Rich.

cycling-claire
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Re: Did a LGBT Member Group start?

Postby cycling-claire » 1 Jun 2009, 12:09pm

THanks for your thoughtful reply, Richard.

Problem is, in all matters of this nature, you are not presented with a mix of people within any given group of what it should be, if representative. You get a group that is a result of that groups previous actions, inactions or indifference.

When I raced (had to stop, accident) I very rarely saw anyone at races who were not white in appearance. In Shrewsbury that would not be a surprise as the area is almost entirely white in ethnic mix. But clubs from areas with a greater proportion of non-white people don't seem to carry that proportional mix into their membership. I am not saying they discriminate, but something is stopping non-white people from taking part. I found when racing, women were grossly under represented as well. The latter may well change since our Olympic successes last year, I hope so. I did an Audax on Saturday and I was pleased to see a few younger women doing the ride, especially that they were in club colours riding with other club members.

As for LGBT, you will not know how many people make the decision NOT to approach the club, or do go out a time or two and find the general banter unwelcoming, because of perceptions from outside. It doesn't take much in the way of 'comments' to put someone off, even after you have developed a thick skin.

If you bear in mind that at least 1 in 10 people in this country are gay (ie LGB), most clubs or sections would appear to be under represented. What cannot be measured, of course, are the numbers who are not 'out' to their friends in those clubs. Just the fact that there are words such as 'out' and 'outing' means that for some to 'announce' (I nearly said admit, because that is how some think of it) or allow it to be known, that they are gay is a step too far - they know from fear or experience that keeping quiet is the safer option.

It does get complicated though at times. When I drive my taxi at night, I'm married to a big bloke. That keeps away the Drunken idiots (they must be) who try it on with you. The last thing you admit to (you see?, I have used it) is being a lesbian. That gets you hurt. THe fantasy a lot of men have of having threesomes with lesbians doesn't seem to hold when they are being driven by one in a cab.

Then there is the T. At the end of LGBT and at the end of most people's thoughts. It stands for Transgender and I could spend a month explaing the problems faced by Transpeople. ANd we digress.....

Back to the original theme, could we not say that a member group is needed if the prospective members feel they need it. Then your (ie anyone in CTC but not a member of that group) job is to make sure that that group can be disbanded as soon as it is not needed anymore?

After all, the relevent test is not whether somone blithely announces that they are gay, but whether they are comfortable to be 'out' within that group. It is an issue as long as it is an issue, the day it is not an issue then then it ceases to be an issue.

Best Wishes

Claire

Jimmy The Hand
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Re: Did a LGBT Member Group start?

Postby Jimmy The Hand » 1 Jun 2009, 12:40pm

cycling-claire wrote:Did a LGBT Member Group start?

Or was it not needed?


Why don't you ask Barry? his email is at viewtopic.php?f=17&t=17851.

BTW can you expalin the difference between a "seperate" group and an "additional" group
cycling-claire wrote:So do I feel the need personally for a separate Member Group? No, but an additional Member Group would be a good idea.

glueman
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Re: Did a LGBT Member Group start?

Postby glueman » 1 Jun 2009, 12:45pm

Personally, I believe 'themed' CTC groups are the way forward. That might be recumbent sections, fixed wheelers or gay cyclists. In the same way the club have had fast sections or over 50s groups or women's groups - all discriminatory with a small d - a LGBT group would expand the remit of the CTC so long as you don't have to be a gay, a trikie, an HPV or whatever to ride with them.

In practice most members will belong to the named minority but I wouldn't like to see straight people actively excluded in the same way as someone riding a freewheel shouldn't be barred from going out with a fixed run. The more banners to ride under the better IMO.

cycling-claire
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Re: Did a LGBT Member Group start?

Postby cycling-claire » 1 Jun 2009, 1:01pm

Jimmy The Hand wrote:BTW can you expalin the difference between a "seperate" group and an "additional" group
cycling-claire wrote:So do I feel the need personally for a separate Member Group? No, but an additional Member Group would be a good idea.


I think the post below (now above...) says it well. Have the town section, 'fast' group etc. but have additional member groups for such as this case, so an individual can belong to all or any as they see fit.

I suppose I would also like to see a LGBT forum on here as well, instead of one locked thread from last year. It was obviously a subject people had opinions on, otherwise there wouldn't have been all the posts.

When I wrote my post, I was just hoping for a simple YES/NO answer and perhaps a web address, instead we got into discussions.....

I've written to Barry, but you know what it is like these days, we all want instant answers and don't consider that others may have just gone on a months cruise or something.

Best WIshes

Claire

Richard
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Re: Did a LGBT Member Group start?

Postby Richard » 1 Jun 2009, 11:52pm

Hi Claire,
These are difficult questions to answer and I'm not sure there is a definitive solution to them given that we're dealing with human emotions rather than logical problems.
As an able bodied, white hetrosexual male I am lucky enough not to suffer any significant discrimination (even as an Englishman living in Wales!) so I don't have the insight into it as you perhaps do. However, without being presumptious, I might unwittingly be a good representation of how the average man on the clapham omnibus may think.

If I were at the cycling club and a new member turned up for the club timetrial or weekly club run, the extent of my interest in them would be

a) are they quicker than me?
b) what bike have they got?
c) are they friendly and interesting to know?

Some members would be more welcoming than others but I don't think the thoughts going through their minds would extend much past what I've listed above unless they were given reason to think differently. For example, turning up to do the weekly "10" wearing a French onion sellers outfit and riding a stop me and buy one bike is going to make people think "who the hell is that idiot?". If an LGBT person turned up we'd not know and we'd only be concerned about performance etc. as sexuality is a non issue for the majority of us.

Now, if someone came along and said "Hi, I'm Fred and I'm bisexual", I no longer think "how fast is he?" I think "so, what's your problem? Why do you need to tell me that?" I'm not in any way anti bisexuals, I'm anti people who I perceive to have an agenda about something and I will distance myself from them.

My concern about LGBT cycling groups is that it makes it's members the onion sellers; the people who are different; the people with agendas; and instead of furthering your aims makes us Clapham omnibus riders put up the defences because we just want to ride our bikes and are simply not interested in the LGBT/race/religion issues.

What I feel LGBT and other minority groups need is not special groups within established cycling organizations; that just highlights their differences. What they need is the confidence to come along and be part of the everyday cycling world. To this end I think it would be better to have an established LGBT organization start a cycling section that would use CTC, British Cycling, RTTC etc. resources to introduce them to cycling in it's various forms and show them that they can be part of the mainstream cycling community.

Will this prevent discrimination? No. There will always be people who will practice it regardless and I'm sorry to say I don't ever believe it will go away. However, what I think it will do is help prevent the silent majority who are ambivalent to a persons sexual/religious/political preferences becoming anti.

Hope this is useful.

Best wishes

Rich.

glueman
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Re: Did a LGBT Member Group start?

Postby glueman » 2 Jun 2009, 12:50am

Speaking as another white, heterosexual male I disagree with your summary Richard. In our larger cities yes, coming out to your clubmates would raise n'er an eyebrow. In more conservative shires it might prove disorienting to some members and in a few places positively shocking.
As I see it a gay person either keeps their mouth shut on the issue, drip feeds information about their partner or lifestyle or comes straight (sic) out and says yeah, I'm queer, there you go. None of the approaches has particular advantages over the other but then I really couldn't care less over other people's sexual orientation but recognise that for whatever reason some people do.
Forcing a sensitive gay person into a knockabout, laddish cycling group would be no more appropriate than expecting a lady of retirement age to rub along with the local chain gang or a teenager to find common ground with an autumn tints run. For those reasons themed CTC groups seem entirely logical to me so long as a prospective rider knows the score and they don't exclude anyone.

The idea that all sections represent a cross section of humanity is naive, though the ones that do should complement themselves.

Jimmy The Hand
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Re: Did a LGBT Member Group start?

Postby Jimmy The Hand » 2 Jun 2009, 10:27am

Richard wrote:If I were at the cycling club and a new member turned up for the club timetrial or weekly club run, the extent of my interest in them would be

a) are they quicker than me?
b) what bike have they got?
c) are they friendly and interesting to know?

and it's at c) where our sexuality comes out, because believe it or not we don't turn up under a rainbow flag and don't introduce ourseves with the tag line "and I'm Gay!"

What normally happens is your are chatting away answering questions on where you work, how long you've been riding what's your partners name and when you say Jim or Jack or Joe (anything but Sue :lol:) that's when you find yourself in the middle of the group on the outside, conversation goes around you, and it can, and does, take months for people to see the cyclist not the Gay person who rides a bike.

Richard wrote:...... What they need is the confidence to come along and be part of the everyday cycling world. To this end I think it would be better to have an established LGBT organization start a cycling section that would use CTC, British Cycling, RTTC etc. resources to introduce them to cycling in it's various forms and show them that they can be part of the mainstream cycling community.

While your idea has merit what your doing is setting up an exclusive LGBT group whereas we are trying to give confidence to LGBT riders to join their local CTC group.
Last edited by Jimmy The Hand on 2 Jun 2009, 11:57am, edited 1 time in total.

Jimmy The Hand
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Re: Did a LGBT Member Group start?

Postby Jimmy The Hand » 2 Jun 2009, 10:36am

glueman wrote:....... and says yeah, I'm queer,


I really get annoyed when someone calls me queer, I AM NOT QUEER I am a gay man, a homosexual!

I am 60 years old and have never heard any other LGBT person introduce themselves as being queer, poofter or any of the many other derogatory names for us, so please don't use them here.

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Si
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Re: Did a LGBT Member Group start?

Postby Si » 2 Jun 2009, 10:43am

I think that in the ideal society then Richard's views are fair: it's like the arguments between multiculturalism and interculturalism - integrating such that everyone accepts and respects others' differences is the aim, but it's never easy to be the pioneer.

Yet I don't think that the problem is that people from what we might call minority groups turn up on their first ride and announce "hello, I'm Fred(a) and I'm a <whatever>" (of course, they have no option if the minority involves skin colour - but if this is the case then they can do it without it being a case of them making an announcement).

No, it's, at least in part, about being able to relax in a group where there might be a certain type of banter. For instance I remember going out with a new club and on the big climb of the day someone had to stop half way as it was too hard for him - to which he received a number of comments along the lines of "don't be so gay" and "get back on you puff". Now, no one in the group was aware of anyone else in it being gay, and I'm pretty sure that the people using these phrases did believe that they were being homophobic - it was just the way that they'd been brought up to speak (institutional homophobia within the family, peer group, work environment, etc), yet to anyone who was gay hearing such comments from strangers might well deter them from wanting to ride with this group again: the homophobic overtones making them feel very uncomfortable. This is not to say that all gay people would react this way, some would just accept it as normal banter that was not meant to upset and might well join in, others would be offended and take issue, and many more would be somewhere between these two camps (suggesting that all people from a particular minority group will react in the same way might, in itself, be construed as being offensive to that group). Yet, to me, it is very understandable that some would rather not ride in such groups and prefer to find a group where they could be assured that such things would not happen.

glueman
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Re: Did a LGBT Member Group start?

Postby glueman » 2 Jun 2009, 12:00pm

Jimmy The Hand wrote:
I am 60 years old and have never heard any other LGBT person introduce themselves as being queer, poofter or any of the many other derogatory names for us, so please don't use them here.


My gay friends constantly refer to themselves as queer, hence my use of the term but I apologise if it gives offence. I assumed the word had been rehabilitated enough not to be seen as perjorative, like for instance, black for any non-Caucasian and in the context of it being liberated of its older, negative connotations. Nevertheless I shall be more careful in future.