Wait, my favorite skater is gay?
September 30, 2016 8:55 AM   Subscribe

Vice Sports talks to the legendary Brian Anderson about Being a Gay Professional Skateboarder.
How does it feel? "Like a hundred pounds has been lifted off of my body."

Additional coverage in the New York Times and Rolling Stone.
posted by hot soup (22 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
I always learn of things like this from OutSports, a really good site to follow for news on LGBTQI athletes and sports figures. They are coming out all over the place, all the time. It's a great site for good news, if you need some of that in your life.

I first heard about this when gay figure skater Adam Rippon tweeted support for Anderson a couple days ago.
posted by not that girl at 9:03 AM on September 30, 2016


“I love, love, love cops.” said no skater ever...oh, I take that back.
posted by bdc34 at 9:05 AM on September 30, 2016 [5 favorites]


I'm really looking forward to learning further about what I really want to. I've been doing a bit of researching regarding the leather community, because I'm really into leather. I love Eagle, that whole world. I recently learned that the leather community in the 90's, they were the first people to really help AIDS-infected people and HIV-positive people in the hospital when everyone was scared to touch them. Leather being what I was naturally into, it's really cool to learn on an extra note that those folks helped people when everyone else wouldn't. I think that's just so cool. They cross genres in the gay world. I'm just looking forward to learning more and more. It's really important to me.

Despite their outward appearance, my experience with the gay leather scene has been that they are men who are truly interested in building community and they care deeply about each other and see each others' company as a refuge from a hostile outside world. And they care deeply about the gay community as a whole because they know they stand a bit outside the perceived norm, and they also are a bit of a parody about gay culture.

I hope this young man finds the same as he explores his own interests. I'd give him a big hug right now if I could.
posted by hippybear at 9:13 AM on September 30, 2016 [19 favorites]


*hehehe* I wrote "young man", but he's 40. I'm 48. But he's still sort of a newborn in some ways.
posted by hippybear at 9:15 AM on September 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


*hehehe* I wrote "young man", but he's 40. I'm 48. But he's still sort of a newborn in some ways.

Totally. Anybody newly out is a babygay, even if they are twice my age. There's physical years, and then there's your gay years. I've been out since my early teens, so I'm like 20something in gay years. He's still in his pre-pubescent excitement at how gay life is SO COOL, WOW!! Soon enough, the teenaged time of too-cool-for-gayness/social anxiety will set in.
posted by 100kb at 9:30 AM on September 30, 2016 [6 favorites]


Soon enough, the teenaged time of too-cool-for-gayness/social anxiety will set in.

Either that or he will find a community that allows him to grow and mature within a context that supports him and feeds his development. Both are possible outcomes. (Actually, both at the same time is also a possible outcome.)
posted by hippybear at 9:35 AM on September 30, 2016 [4 favorites]


From my Facebook news feed, I read this reactionary piece before the actual “coming out” piece: A Brief Look at Skateboarding’s Gay Past.
posted by Martijn at 9:47 AM on September 30, 2016


I'm really looking forward to learning further about what I really want to. I've been doing a bit of researching regarding the leather community, because I'm really into leather. I love Eagle, that whole world.

I don't really know the skateboarding world, so I don't totally know about how famous he apparently is in that world, but I'm always psyched when someone like this comes out. And I'm even more impressed that he's also openly saying he digs leather guys, because for many people that's a whole 'nother level of coming out, like a whole second closet.
posted by dnash at 10:09 AM on September 30, 2016 [6 favorites]


Sometimes a third or even fourth closet. Leather is an intense community (there are a lot of implications going on there beyond just the second skin you wrap yourself in), and so yeah.
posted by hippybear at 10:19 AM on September 30, 2016


I keep seeing stories about this guy and mentally reading "skater" as meaning "figure skater", and for the second until my brain fixes it, it seems a lot less unique.

There's something really interesting in the similarity in overlap about the leather community and skateboarding dudes (beyond, I think, people who get REAL obsessive over gear*) and I'm going to be thinking about that all day now.

(* and, yes also beyond my fondness for both)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:25 AM on September 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


Back in the early 1990s there were a few out skaters in the Baltimore area. I still feel like my crew should have done more to welcome them. Mostly, we just kept them from getting beat up by the jock alphas at the local skater gathering place. It took guts back then to be out around such open hostility. Shops wouldn't sponsor you and the pressure to conform was high. This was right about the time that punk in skating was taking a break and hip-hop and streetwear was becoming more important than skill.

I distinctly remember sitting in a coffee shop with a guy I knew and his boyfriend doing regular 1990s coffee shop things. We were just there having a coffee, smoking and talking music when another skater I knew came in and started a bunch of stuff because he was concerned that if he skated the same spots as them he would get AIDS if they feel and bled on the ledge. He said this right in front of them. I could see how it hurt them. It was insane, especially coming from someone I thought was more enlightened.

My friend from that day still skates and is happily married to a guy he met years later. I officiated their wedding. The other skater dipped out when small wheels and collecting EPMD CDs wasn't enough to call yourself a skater anymore. Those that were out in the 90s know a lot about perseverance and I am glad to still call him a friend.
posted by extraheavymarcellus at 10:51 AM on September 30, 2016 [9 favorites]


Oh, skateboarder.
posted by Bee'sWing at 12:12 PM on September 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


So awesome, and as always BA seems like a great guy.

I really enjoyed watching the documentary but it was made slightly bittersweet by a sadness that he didn't feel he could come out before. Given its overwhelming positivity in many other spheres it feels like the skateboarding world maybe could have done him better.

Also I found it deeply amusing when he talks about why he didn't want to come out to Ed Templeton when he was on Toy Machine, fearing that Ed would make a massive deal about it. And then it cuts to Ed saying how he wished Brian had told him at the time so that he could have made a massive deal about it. Heh.
posted by Albondiga at 4:33 PM on September 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


favorite skater

Ohhh not Johnny Weir, that was not particularly secret. :-)
posted by sammyo at 6:01 PM on September 30, 2016


BA coming out is a big deal. He was a rock star skateboarder in the late 90's/ early 2000's and is held in very high regard to this day. To put this in ball sport terms it would be like Derek Jeter coming out.
posted by photoslob at 7:32 PM on September 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oh, skateboarder.

Oh please. I can't ride a board to save my life, and I'm well past the time when any culture I enjoy is even skating-adjacent, but I know what "skater" means. At this point, skateboards are so culturally dominant that if you want to specify figure skater or roller skater, you say so. "Skater" on its own means someone who rides a skateboard.

Avril Lavigne was only the final nail in the coffin.
posted by explosion at 8:23 PM on September 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


I loved his origin story about being really into Bluto on Popeye as a little kid.
posted by en forme de poire at 11:07 PM on September 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


Yeah this is a big deal. I'm reaching, coz I don't really follow any sports anymore, but in terms of football (soccer) maybe like Didier Drogba? In terms of cricket maybe one of the Waugh brothers?

Anyway, growing up skating in Australia, the culture was very gay-unfriendly. I remember that terrible meme about getting AIDS from spilled blood popping up reasonably often. And "gay" was the pejorative term of choice.

A fist-bump for Mr Anderson. He's one of The Greats and he has my support.

(also, paging Annika Cicada)
posted by iffthen at 3:57 AM on October 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


As a facility manager, skaters are my natural enemy, but I still loved the video and am delighted for BA.
posted by sonascope at 5:47 AM on October 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


but I know what "skater" means

After the briefest context I knew what the post was about but, no, I was legitimately perplexed with the tone of the headline, was it sarcastic, was it a historical discussion of a particular skating sport. I made a bland joke but there are may demographics that will use the term "skater" to mean something other than "boarder".
posted by sammyo at 7:04 AM on October 1, 2016


I'm not much into skating..but glad to hear he has friends and family who support his decision.
posted by Lavvy23 at 2:18 AM on October 2, 2016


Here's an old episode of Epicly Later'd about Brian Anderson that give some context and show why he's so popular among skateboarders.
posted by Drab_Parts at 4:03 PM on October 2, 2016


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