Last week the skateboarding professional Brian Anderson came out as gay on a video on Vice Sports.
Anderson, age forty, is one the top skaters in the world, earning respect for his fearless style and earning money from sponsors like Nike.
So for someone like Brian Anderson to announce his homosexuality, it’s kind of a big deal. He’s like other top pros in other corners of the sports world who are slowly saying out loud that they are gay.
Skateboarding has an aura of cool, but once you scratch beneath the surface, you see it mirrors societal problems at large: it’s overwhelmingly male, overwhelming white, and overwhelmingly straight. Even here in Madison, a new skatepark in Central Park on the east side is dominated by males.
Thirty years ago skateboarding was known for being a world of misfits; now the sport is sponsored by Nike and other big brands and hey, it could end up an Olympic sport right behind snowboarding.
Now, women are the misfits in the skating scene. The women’s skate scene remains tiny, with little recognition, branding, or corporate cash.
One example of this is the all-girls skate collective called “Brujas.” Brujas means witches in Spanish. The Bronx-based collective was born from the sense of exclusion females felt in the skate parks of New York City.
Arianna Gil is one of the founders of the Brujas. She told the New York Times this summer why she started the group.
Brujas aren’t just about giving women space–they also wants to shatter essentialist gender mythology.
This is what Brujas had to say about Brian Anderson coming out as gay. One their Instagram account, they wrote:
“There is a lot of overlay between homophobia and misogyny. The idea that men and women play particular and different, sexualized and emotional, roles in relationships reinforces essentialist gender mythology. Brujas play all the roles 😜 welcome to the team Brian Anderson, our first male identifying team rider 😂 accepted into the coven for his bravery for coming out and front blunts.”
Brian Anderson was brave to come out and hopefully made the skating scene a little more welcoming for some young kids questioning gender nonsense.
And while he loves to skate, Anderson explains that he isn’t attracted to skaters.
Brian Anderson’s new deviant behavior is a very old one: he likes a man in uniform.