He sat at the bar with his leathers and patches. For this he was already labeled by many patrons in the small town bar. In fact I too had probably already judged him without even a word exchanged. He risked rejection and approached our table. It took my friends only but one brief glance for them to all lie and say that I was in a committed relationship and not interested. While I was intrigued, I knew we were from two different worlds. His world was one I knew nothing about.
He was probably predestined to a life of destruction and conflict through irresponsible, aggressive, and delinquent behaviors that often accompanied the biker lifestyle. He would likely only serve as a barrier to my goals, successes, and happiness. When he again attempted to engage me in a conversation my curiosity was piqued. I put aside my fears, perceptions, and social conditioning and for the first time looked into eyes.
Soon after that night I found myself immersed in a culture like no other. While at first I felt uncertain and fearful, I was soon embraced by a diverse community of men and women that were from all walks of life. They took pride in their bikes and their clubs, but also in their dedications and commitment to their relationships. They were family, friends, and club members. While they identified as bikers, they did not let society’s image define them. They were involved and loving fathers and mothers. They were educated and positive contributors to our communities. They were a brotherhood/sisterhood that stimulated compassion, support, and acceptance.
I never expected to personally experience the biker culture, let alone have it become a part of my identity, but it has challenged me to reflect on society’s and my own innate prejudices. It has caused me to truly recognize the diminished opportunities that result from such ignorance’s. While knowledge and education can promote awareness and understanding, actual personal experiences and active engagements with others can break barriers of social stigmas and inspire change. I will forever be blessed and honored to share my life with my biker husband and the biker community I now call family.