What’s with the the title of this article? I know, but trust me, as someone who’s been a skateboarder for two full decades, and has endured innumerable taunts of “Skater fag!” from passing car windows, I know of no other community that uses self-deprecating humour to turn bigotry back on itself better than skaters. That’s because we don’t give a shit what people think. To us, the only thing that matters is the skating. Period. But when it does come to the people and personalities, we skaters thrive on being different, or “counter culture,” and I mean c’mon, what’s more counter culture than homosexuality? So calling us “skater fags,” or saying skating is gay, well that’s a compliment we’ll gladly take.
Which is why today was such a momentous day for skateboarding, because one of our most respected icons, an absolute legend in the game, and your favourite skater’s favourite skater, Brian Anderson, came out publicly as the first openly gay pro skateboarder. Yes, there have been others before him, but none at the level B.A. has reached in his career. And the best part is (as predicted) nobody really cares. Sure, we care, because this is a huge moment in a culture that admittedly has its own problems with machismo and closely guarded (yet fragile) masculinity, but similar to the day Elissa Steamer became the first female street skater to go pro, today is just another day for skaters to band together and exclaim a collective: “So what?”
And I mean that in the most accepting, positive way possible: So what? So what if she’s a woman… so what if he’s gay… they fucking rule on a skateboard and that’s all that matters.
Over the next couple of years, we’re all but guaranteed to see every major professional sport finally own up to the obvious fact that there are homosexuals within. There will be Sports Illustrated covers, ESPN 30 for 30 documentaries aplenty, and ESPY awards handed out like candy. Barriers are breaking down, and I’m proud to say that at least for today, skateboarders are leading the way in the only way we know how: with apathy. Yes, there was this big video announcement today from VICE, but I suspect that after the never-ending content cycle spits out another video tomorrow, nobody in skateboarding is likely to be talking much about it and Brian simply goes back to being Brian, and skaters go back to being skaters.
“Skater fags?” Sure, we’ll take it. We’ve always taken it. I guarantee you’ll never meet a social group, or dare I say, “sports” community who cares less what people think of them than skaters. And if being a “skater fag” means getting to skate like Brian Anderson, sign me up!
Thanks for paving the way, B.A.
— Dan Post