Skateboarding legend Brian Anderson has come out as a gay man, opening the closet doors on a sport that’s been resolutely heterosexual.
The San Francisco based Anderson is a World Cup of Skateboarding champion (1999) and was Thrasher Magazine’s “Skater of the Year” in 1999.
Now, at the age of 40, he has opened up about his sexuality and navigating the super-macho sport as a gay man.
In a video interview with VICE Sports, he revealed that he had known that he was attracted to men, especially men with facial hair, since the age of three or four. “Something about that told me, ‘that’s right. I like that,’” he said.
He also knew early on that this might not be welcomed. “Hearing ‘faggot’ all the time made me feel at a really young age that it was dangerous to talk about it.”
Anderson remained closeted when he became a celebrated skateboarder. “I was really scared. And people would have perceived it a lot differently had I said this fifteen years ago.”
He explained that he also used skateboarding “to not think about that”, adding that, “I knew I couldn’t go and meet some dude, or something. I was terrified of somebody seeing me doing that. I kind of consider myself a skateboarder first and gay second.”
Anderson told Vice: “I never thought I would sit here and talk about being gay on camera, but I wanted to. I think about how I felt when I was younger, totally scared—a lot of these kids don’t have hope.”
“To hear what I went through and how everything got better for me and how I felt a lot happier and felt more free and didn’t have all this shame buried inside my body…to convey that message was really important to me.”