01 June 2019

So You Didn't Marry The Girl Or Guy Next Door? Thank Your Bike!

If the love of your life is of a different race, ethnicity, national origin from your own, you have the bicycle to thank.  I might say the same if your significant other is the same gender as you, or identifies in a way you never heard of until you left home.

That's more or less what University of Arizona historian David Ortiz says.  As I've mentioned in several posts, no less than Susan B. Anthony said that the bicycle did more than anything to emancipate women.  Cycling would change the clothing women wore, allowing more freedom of movement.  The bicycle also allowed women to travel unchaperoned by males for the first time.

And, says Ortiz, it also allowed men to travel greater distances.  At the time the "safety" bicycle was introduced, most people never got further than about 50 kilometers from where they were born or raised.  For a young man, then, "the girl next door" wasn't a Hollywood stereotype (well, ok, Hollywood didn't exist then): If she wasn't the one he married, she didn't come from much further afield.

Now, I don't think there's anything wrong with marrying the girl (or guy) next door, if that is what you want.  I just think it's nice to know that it's not the only choice.  And, of course, having two parents of very different backgrounds can be a great thing for their kids:  What could give them a better education?

As a transgender woman, I can't help but to think that such heterogeneity, along with women's liberation, helped to bring about, however slowly, greater acceptance of LGBTQ people. It's no coincidence, really, that the first and most vibrant queer communities have been found in cosmopolitan neighborhoods and cities.

So, if I ever find myself hooking up with an Afro-Japanese Brazilian bisexual whose pronoun is "they", I know the bicycle is responsible!  

Seriously, though:  From what David Ortiz says, the bicycle made us freer.  Certainly, I feel freer when I ride!

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