In the world of competitive skateboarding, coming out is difficult, but one athlete did so and the industry supported him.
The LGBT community now has an icon in the world of competitive skateboarding.
Brian Anderson (B.A.), 40, winner of the World Cup of Skateboarding in Germany and named “Skateboarder of the Year” by Thrasher magazine came out in a Vice Sports documentary on Tuesday.
Anderson says in the video (see full doc below) that he realized he was gay at a very young age and confirmed those feelings after watching episodes of “Popeye” cartoons.
“I just thought Bluto was so perfect. That flannel shirt and that beard ― I was all about Bluto,” he said.
He also says that he was apprehensive about his feelings entering into the pro-skate world, many of his fellow competitors would use words like “faggot” and other homophobic speech.
He also says because he came from a really big family, he thought it should be one of his goals also, and his homosexuality was just a phase he would grow out of.
“Maybe this is gonna be something I will no longer feel as I get older I will no longer have this attraction towards a man and I will find a woman and have children.”
He also admits to being in an intimate relationship with a woman but it wasn’t, “totally what I liked.”
After talking to a gay friend about his feelings, he came to fully accept he was gay and nothing was going to change that.
Anderson hopes his public honesty about who he is will reassure others, especially young people that it does get better:
“A lot of these kids who don’t have hope are really scared to death," he says. "To hear what I went through, and that everything got better for me, and I got a lot happier and felt more free and didn’t have all this shame buried in my body, you become a happier person.”
His peers appear very supportive of him in the film, skateboarder and friend Alex Olson said it makes him much cooler, while Lindsey Byrnes formerly of High Speed Productions says,“The one thing that they love and respect the most is a really good skateboarder. That trumps everything.”