Meet The Women Of Color Bicycle Brigade “Ovarian Psycos” In This PBS Documentary

credit: Independent Lens / Youtube

What comes to mind when you think of cycling? Spandex bike shorts? Sweaty dudes with one-piece cycling outfits half-zipped with chest hair dripping oily sweat? Someone cutting through traffic, ruining your commute, and not following traffic laws?

Yeah, the Ovarian Psycos are definitely not that.

Recently, PBS’ Independent Lens released “Ovarian Psycos,” a documentary about an L.A.-based cycling brigade of the same name.

Credit: Independent Lens / Youtube

They are comprised completely of women, women-identified and gender non-conforming folks, who together, empower, support and build community around fighting anti-women and anti-immigrant sentiments. They gather, they ride and they fight for what’s right.

The Ovarian Psycos ride for the important cause of empowering women.

Credit: Independent Lens / Youtube

One of the coolest things they do is their “Luna Ride,” which happens once every full moon.  After a message goes out for them to gather, they assemble, have open dialogue, chant things like “whose streets? – our streets!” and, most importantly, they ride in unity.

Men are not allowed to join at all – which is one of the important rules that helps them to “claim space in very dangerous zones,” as founder Xela De La X puts it.

PBS released several videos to promote the full documentary. In this promo, they discuss the Luna Ride, which men aren’t invited to.

Credit: Independent Lens / Youtube

At one point in the video, some onlooking men are asked “how do you feel that you men are not allowed on Luna Rides?” To which one of the men replies, seemingly understanding the need for exclusivity in the group, saying “anyone who has been on any mass group rides, know it’s like 10% women and the rest is just a bunch of guys.”

In another powerful clip from the documentary, Ovarian Psyco Andi Xoch paints a vivid picture of women’s roles in The Chicano Movement.

Credit: Independent Lens / Youtube

Interlaced with protest footage from civil-rights era in East L.A., where Xoch says the Chicano movement arose, Xoch rides the streets on her bike, weaving through the neighborhood with a backdrop of giant murals. She describes how powerful it was to have Chicanos paint the neighborhood. The clip, although only two minutes long, really gives a whole picture of the bridge between that time period and now, a period they feel almost wholly erased from.

UCLA Professor and author of ¡Chicana Power!, Maylei Blackwell, masterfully make connections between 60’s civil-rights movements and the goals of Ovarian Psycos today.

Credit: Independent Lens / Youtube

Of the time period the clip shows, Professor Blackwell discusses how women have felt left out of parts of history they are most responsible for:

“Women in the Chicano Movement, women in the Black Power Movement, in the Asian-American Movement really looked at how women were core community organizers, how they really could organize for community transformation and how they’ve been written out of history.”

On riding together with other women and having “back up,” Xela says, “You feel like you can win the war. You feel like nothing, absolutely nothing, can stop you.”

Credit: Independent Lens / Youtube

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Watch the full documentary here on PBS.


[H/T] ‘Ovarian Psycos’: Young L.A. Latinas Forge Activism, Empowerment Through Biking

READ: Latinas Are One Of The Fastest Growing Demographics According To This Study And We’re Also Becoming Businesswomen

 

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