Oregon Bicycling Racing Association Reverses Course, Asks Controversial Board Member to Resign

The board determined that Thompson “violated the confidentiality of the executive session.”

Womens' Bike Race (Paul VanDerWerf/Flickr)

Former Olympic cyclist Inga Thompson today resigned from the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association board of directors.

A petition for Thompson to be removed from the board was circulated in October, after Thompson proposed that a separate racing category be created for transgender bicycle racing entrants. Thompson was interviewed in an article on a website called Save Women's Sports, in which authors wrote, "This is the beginning of the end for women's sports. We cannot allow this abuse of female athletes and mockery of women's sports to continue. It is not bigotry to defend biology, and it is not hate speech to defend your rights."

The petition for Thompson's removal, which was circulated by Portland bicycle repair shop owner Rachel Cameron, received nearly 500 signatures. On Dec. 9, OBRA responded with an announcement that it would not be removing Thompson from the board.

But today, just three days later, OBRA's executive director Chuck Kenlan announced that Thompson had resigned from the board.

"OBRA thanks Inga for her service and wishes her well in all her future endeavors," the statement read. "I pledge to you, our passionate membership, that OBRA will continue to strive towards fulfilling our mission of inclusiveness in the sport of bicycle racing and adhere to our statement of diversity, equity, and inclusion."

Thompson tells WW she was asked to resign from the board because of an interview she gave to BikePortland, in which she said the board's decision to keep her on "validates her proposal" to create a separate category for transgender cyclists.

In a Dec. 11 email to Thompson obtained by WW, Kenlan wrote that due to statements made to BikePortland and on Twitter—Thompson tweeted "So excited that the board unanimously voted to keep me on the board and see the value of more inclusion of transgender women"—the board determined that Thompson "violated the confidentiality of the executive session."

Kenlan said the board voted to remove Thompson.

"Before executing the vote of the board," Kenlan wrote, "I would like to give you the opportunity to resign from your position as a OBRA board member."

Kenlan did not immediately respond to a further request for comment.

Willamette Week’s reporting has concrete impacts that change laws, force action from civic leaders, and drive compromised politicians from public office. Support WW's journalism today.