The state of Arkansas is actively growing cycling, and its government is working on multiple anti-LGBTQ policies. Here is the perspective of one man, who has worked in cycling and with government for decades, and who is the father of a transgender child.https://t.co/YgeGIYiiUn
— VeloNews (@velonews) April 6, 2021
Velo News reports national fallout from the Arkansas legislature’s assault on transgender children.
As one Arkansas cyclist noted to me, ticking off bike riders might be viewed as a plus in the Arkansas legislature. They just get in the way of big pickups on the highway and what is it with those tight shorts anyway?
Nonetheless, this comes from a sector on which millions has been invested in the state and which is credited with giving a significant boost to Arkansas tourism:
Chris DiStefano, a cycling industry veteran since 1996, was planning on visiting Bentonville, Arkansas in May to check out the burgeoning cycling scene and was even considering relocating there. Then three anti-LGBTQ pieces of state legislation came to the fore, and DiStefano, a father of a transgender child, changed his plans. One Arkansas policy bans transgender women and girls from competing in school sports teams consistent with their gender identity.
After posting his thoughts on Instagram, DiStefano has become a bellwether and an advisor of sorts for the bike industry, where many people are advocating boycotting upcoming events in Arkansas like the UCI Cyclocross World Championship.
“I’ve taken calls from bike brands, bike racers, pros, ex-pros, and others, asking ‘should I go?’” DiStefano said. “I have told them all, ‘you know what you need to do.’ A boycott is just too easy; it’s on or it’s off. This is more of a slider. There are people who should go and raise their voices there, absolutely. And then there are people like me, who will stay home and spend their money elsewhere.”
- Related on Outside: The Walmart Heirs Putting Arkansas on the Fat-Tire Map
DiStefano is not the only person voicing his thoughts on the Arkansas legislation. Pro cyclocross rider Molly Cameron, who is trans, authored a column on Bicycling.com, condemning the legislation and asking brands, individuals, and organizations to publicly take a stand against the new legislation.
Yes, a Sam Walton grandson who’s been a major backer of bicycle development in the state did weigh in yesterday.