If you follow skateboarding at all, then you are surely familiar with the powerhouse that is Brian Anderson. He burst into the scene seemingly out of nowhere in 1996 with his stellar part in Toy Machine’s Welcome To Hell (the front blunt down Hubba will remain one of the gnarliest things to ever be done at that spot) and by 1999 had already won the World Cup of Skateboarding and been declared Thrasher Skater Of The Year. He also has heavy parts in Transworld’s Modus Operandi and Girl’s Yeah Right under his belt.
On Tuesday Anderson makes history by becoming the first openly gay professional skateboarder. Despite having known that he was gay from the time he was 3 years old and having privately come out to a significant number of friends inside and outside the industry, he didn’t feel comfortable announcing it publicly until this year, at 40 years old. He did so to Giovanni Reda’s Vice Sports series Reda For The World, which also features a slew of interviews with skaters who were in on the “secret” including Mike Carroll, Frank Gerwer, Thrasher editor-in-chief Jake Phelps, Brad Staba, Alex Olson and more.
This announcement is wonderful news all around. While skate culture outwardly prides itself on acceptance and support of one another within the subculture, homophobic attitudes and language have unfortunately persisted. The fact that someone of Brian Anderson’s legendary stature and pedigree was worried about the effect of being open about his homesuxuality would have on his career for so long (20 years!) is very telling.
Watch the episode here, and let’s hope that this announcement is the beginning of a positive new chapter when it comes to sexual orientation within skateboarding.