Skaters are so cute.
When I was a preteen, in the late-nineties, at the height of JNCOs and chain wallets, all aspects of culture was pointing to skaters. I wanted to be one because I thought they were cute. But, I had zero coordination and lacked the stability to stand on a small, rolling platform without crashing into something. Instead, I—like everyone else—dressed liked a skater and gazed at the boys from afar, wishing to be like them.
Although I didn’t understand what it meant to be gay nor was I even aware that I’d need to come out, all the skater kids called me gay. They hated me. They were my answer to bullies, these pests who made sure that lots and lots of my peers heard how much of a fag I was. Likely because I was a poser or because I hung out with all their girlfriends, my baggy pants wearing wannabe femme-boy nature didn’t register in skater world. I’ve always loved skater culture for be alt but I’ve never known it to be accepting.
That assumption seems about right. As Jenkem posted recently, the history of skateboarding has always been aligned with teen boyhood: skating has always retained an element of homophobia because such is the nature of teen boys. Skateboarding is about flaunting male achievement and alt-masculinity, where you can be graceful in your sport while beating gay kids to show strength. There’s a bizarre catch in skating.
That will change. Pro skater Brian Anderson recently came out, rippling through both the gay and sports communities with a “Huh.” How has this first been so delayed? Anderson is a highly lauded skater who has won several awards and is overall beloved in the skater community. How did no one know about this? Still, his coming out at forty is a big deal: it’s a matter of showing that, yes, queer people are everywhere and do everything.
The coming out was done through a fantastic Vice documentary (Watch below.) that spends nearly thirty minutes with Anderson explaining his career, his sexuality, and how the two have ran parallel tracks for so long. Anderson is a lovable, adorable guy and, from what his peers and friends in the industry say, he is exactly that. That sentiment becomes a refrain, that if there was going to be an ambassador to gay skate culture, Brian is the perfect fit. He also shares some personal details, explaining how he’s always been attracted to men who look like Bluto and that he’s had brushes with outings through the years.
The documentary is one of the better queer media items to come out this year and is a really, really great sports culture doc. It’s an example of two antithetical worlds colliding in dreamy synergy. It’s intimate and explanatory, funny yet real: it’s a great coming out story. If only I had someone like Anderson when I was a kid, I probably wouldn’t have been so scared by my lack of coordination or the dudes who called me a fag. Guess we’ll find out in another life.