Annual Clitoral Mass Bike Ride Transforms Into Black Mass, Combatting Gentrification In East L.A.
Since 2012, the Ovarian Psycos have hosted L.A.'s annual Clitoral Mass bike ride. The ride brings together female-identifying cyclists for a critical mass-style event in order to fight back against the sexism and classism present in most mainstream bike communities and to reclaim safety in the streets. This year's iteration changed its name to Black Mass and focused instead on fighting against gentrification in East L.A., displacement of working class communities, ICE and deportation, and white supremacy.
The change in name comes from the bicycle brigade's recent reorientation. Instead of going by Ovarian Psycos, the group has adopted the name OVAS, which stands for "Overthrowing Vendidxs, Authority & the State," (and One Very Angry Squad, as they point out via Facebook). The group chose to veer away from "[f]alsely equating feminism with our genitals & genitals with our politics" and instead focus on the injustices perpetrated against all marginalized communities. Hence the change in name for the bike ride as well; Black Mass represents "a dark funeral procession acknowledging the death tolls & mounting terror faced by communities everywhere under siege."
On Saturday at 10 a.m., cyclists converged on L.A. State Historic Park to ride along a route with pitstops from local activist groups like the L.A. Tenants Union, Union de Vecinos, and ICE out Of L.A. The change in focus comes at a time when anti-gentrification efforts in Boyle Heights are gaining political visibility, most recently prompting City Councilman José Huizar to respond to the protests around Weird Wave Coffee and art galleries arriving in the neighborhood.
In response to the recent uptick in local political awareness, the OVAS told LAist "[w]e were also ourselves questioning whether to have this ride at all in light of the daily threats our communities face even more now under 45’s regime."
This post has been updated with comments from the OVAS.