“Crippled Old Biker Bastards,” “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” “Dykes on Bikes:” one of these things is not like the others. Each phrase contains words that many find objectionable and offensive, but only one was denied US trademark for that reason.
In 2003, the US Patent and Trademark Office refused to consider the application of the women’s motorcycle group that had long lead the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade because the word “dyke,” it claimed, was both vulgar and disparaging to lesbians. Lawyers for the motorcycle club eventually prevailed in a court battle that dragged on for years (eventually making it to the Supreme Court) but the story remains a touchstone for discussions about language, sexuality, power, culture, gender and the law.
This week the discussion picks up in Denver, when Alex Ilyasova, a professor of Cultural Studies and self-described "motorcycle dyke in training” joins Suzanne Ferriss, co-author of the book "Motorcycle" for a special engagement at the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art (map) entitled “Motor Maids: Women & Motorcycling.” The event takes place this Thursday, April 8th and begins with a reception at 6 pm, but bikers can join in a ride to the MCA from Erico Motorsports (map) departing at 5:30 pm.
For more info visit Denver Museum of Contemporary Art