Professional skateboarder Brian Anderson comes out: 'I'm a skateboarder first, gay second'

'I'm a skateboarder first, gay second,' legendary professional says

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The Independent Online

One of skateboarding's biggest stars has come out as gay.

Brian Anderson, who hails from New York, turned professional in 1998. A year later he won the world championships in Germany and was awarded the title of “skateboarder of the year” by Thrasher magazine. He is now reportedly the first openly gay professional skateboarder.

The 40-year-old has decided to publicly speak about his sexuality for the first time, saying he kept it hidden as he climbed the ranks of skateboarding partially because he would often hear homophobic slurs. 

“My name is Brian Anderson, I’m a professional skateboarder and we are here to talk about the fact that I am gay,” he told Vice Sports in an in-depth video interview. 

“Hearing f****t all the time made me think at a young age that it was really dangerous to talk about it. I figured out a balance where no one would ever question it. I was a big tough skateboarder, none was going to question that or think anything.”

Although Anderson has come out to family, close friends and members of the skateboarding community, he said he delayed his decision to come out to the public and his fans because he was “pretty freaked out”.

“I was really scared and people would have perceived it a lot differently if I’d done it 15 years ago,” he said. 

 

Anderson, who says he realised his sexual orientation as a child, initially thought he wouldn’t come out until he had retired from skating and said he challenged the shame and pent-up aggression he felt into his skateboarding stunts.

“I think a part of me was so angry and irritated from holding that in so it made me an animal on my skateboard,” he said.

Anderson says he hopes his video acts as a message of hope for young people who are struggling to deal with their sexuality.

“I think about how I felt when I was younger, totally scared. A lot of these kids they don’t have hope, are really scared to death,” he said. “To hear what I went through and to know how everything got better for me. I got a lot happier, felt more free and didn’t have all this shame buried inside my body, you become a happier person and so to convey that message was really important to me.”

Messages of support poured in for Anderson after his announcement on Wednesday. 

Anderson also added that his sexuality does not define him: “I kind of consider myself a skateboarder first, gay second,” he said.

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