The Big Secret I've Been Keeping from My Skater Bro Friends

It's Taken Me a Long Time to Say This

Comments

1
Wow, thanks for writing that! I used to skate but still have a lot of friends that do and I can't imagine coming out like that.
Foam mesh capped, Levi, and Vans- wearing bros that ride choppers as well don't do that stuff, man!
Good job- that's definitely ballsy (no homo) as fuck, dude.
2
Nice article
Thx
3
If you grew up skating in the red parts of the state you would have heard "Skater fag" yelled at you from countless car windows no matter your actual orientation.
4
This is an interesting article, and I echo the author's sentiment. When BA came out, the skateboarding world was so quick to pat themselves on the back for being accepting but oblivious to the fact that he felt like he had to remain (mostly) closeted until the close of his career (which is waning, let's be honest, which isn't to take anything away from his skating but merely to point out he has less to lose now than if there was fallout from his coming out earlier). And, as the author points out, a lot of people knew Brian was gay years ago (I did too).

As the piece points out, and as Dan Savage has been saying for years, it also shows the importance of the individual act of coming out; it's harder to hate an entire group of people if you actually know, are friends with, or are related to them. But of course this fact doesn't make coming out any easier for any given individual, and there's no doubt that coming out for some people will make like difficult (e.g. with bigoted relatives) and necessitates timing that will alleviate some of that. Which is why, despite all the self-congratulatory remarks from the skating community after BA came out, there is still a hell of a lot of progress to be made. It's heartening to know that the author's experience with his friends was positive, and I do think that most skaters don't give a shit about orientation (although I also think this is reflected in the area in which one lives -- Seattle is likely to be more tolerant overall than, say, rural Arkansas). That being said, I've heard plenty of people in the industry say some disparaging things...

Regardless, I still applaud BA's and the author's decisions, and am happy that the conversation has started.
5
What a beautiful, honest, heartfelt article. Thanks for writing it. You are awesome.
6
Great article. I really enjoyed it.

I felt there were a lot of parallels with what I went through way back in the '90s when I was in the Army. That's of course, is also an institution with a hypermasculine, very heterosexual culture, with the added bonus of having had the closet actually written into the law of the land in the form of Don't Ask Don't Tell back then.

I was very well aware of my sexual orientation when I enlisted. One of my motivations for enlisting was to say "Fuck you! You can't keep me out!" if only in my own head. I went through a lot of the same mental gymnastics to justify not coming out even to my closest friends there (I'd frame it in my own head as just 'respecting' them and their orientation).

In retrospect, I'm pretty sure that if I had come out or been outed in some way, the overwhelming majority of the men in my company would have been fine with me, if only because I'd more than proven myself as a soldier and friend (though the thought that I need to "prove myself" still irks, even as I still feel it). The fact of the matter is that when I have come out of the closet, at work or school or wherever, I've always had the same good experience as you have. I still can't quite bring myself to believe that it will always be that way though.

Anywhere, lots there that I can identify with. Thanks again for the article!
7
Great article!
8
Interesting article!

We have to realize that the community is as varied as society is
9
Damn dude, I feel this hard. Thank you so much.
10
A friend of mine commented on the original BA article something I wish I'd said, which is instead of patting ourselves on the backs for accepting him, we should apologize for making him feel like he couldn't come out sooner.

Thank you for sharing, I'm glad the landscape of skate culture is changing.
11
@10 There's a certain amount of this that's internal to the guy who's working through coming out. I'm of the opinion that coming out will always have at least some anxiety simply because by definition, you aren't conforming to social norms. Then there's also the "Velvet Rage" hypothesis that states that you're initial experience of sexuality is almost always going to be based on rejection, simply because of the overwhelming likelihood that your first crush will be straight.

Looking back on my own experiences, I think the biggest thing that helped me out was not being first. Once I saw someone else come out and be met with acceptance, it made it much easier for me to do the same. Which puts more of the onus on the rest of us LGBT people, which is fine with me. I kind of like looking after our own :)

I know a lot of the derogatory terminology often comes up in these discussions. I'm not going to say that I wouldn't mind seeing words like "fag" or "gay" or "dyke" or "trannie" used in a derogatory sense go away, but ultimately I don't think policing the vocabulary is as important to helping people come out. Words frequently have multiple meanings, and shades of meanings. Human beings are pretty good at ferreting out the intent

I will use the word "straight" as a synonym for "gay"="bad" just to tweak my straight friends who may use it unthinkingly, but unless it's used with malicious intent, I'm not too worried about it and, for me anyway, I don't think the use of words like that ever contributed to my decisions to come out to anyone. YMMV of course.
12
Hell ya toby this is rad, was talking with a dude in the hallway of my building about the BA thing and Frank Ocean and hiphop about a half hour before reading this.
13
@11 Gotcha. Even with all the empathy I can muster, it's better to hear from people about their own experiences than to assume I have any idea what their lives are like based on my own experiences.
14
Thanks for writing about this.

Have to admit I would never have guessed that skaters in *Seattle* are still as casually homophobic as this! It feels like a flashback to 20 years ago. So I learned I live in a bubble.
15
Good read, your friends sound dope.
16
Love.
17
Strength, peace and love to you!
18
Thanks for this. I don't skate, but I do often round myself up to gay in the same way you've been rounding yourself up to straight. It's easier to omit the complicated truth ... until it isn't.

Your article reminded me that the longer those of us who can hide behind binary absolutes continue to do so, the longer it will take to build a culture where we all just get to be ourselves.