Brian Anderson has been a pro skateboarder for nearly 20 years and for most of that time he has had to remain closeted for fear of being ostracized from his profession.
In a documentary from Vice Sports, Anderson stares directly into the camera and very calmly and confidently says “My name is Brian Anderson, I’m a professional skateboarder and we are here to talk about the fact that I am gay.” The 26-minute documentary has Vice’s Giovanni Reda interviewing some of Anderson’s closest friends and work associates (along with Anderson himself) complementing the skate clips they’ve scattered throughout.
The former Skater of the Year winner discusses how even at the young age of three he knew this was who he was but still felt hesitant about coming out due to hostilities around him “Hearing faggot all the time, it made me think at a young age it was really dangerous to talk about it.”
At times the film gets dark as it implies that he had a drinking problem stemming from the shame he felt and the feelings he had to repress. Anderson recalls almost getting outed when he went to a leather bar (The Eagle) to spend time with some people like himself and ran into a fan. The anxiety that was brought upon by that experience forced him even further into a solitary mindset “I used skateboarding to not think about that because I knew I couldn’t do that. I knew I couldn’t go and try to meet some dude, I was terrified of somebody seeing me doing that.”
In the end, when he decided to tell a select few, he was met with warmth and understanding, “Who cares…what does that matter? It’s about skateboarding, we’re skaters. You skate, I skate, we skate, great. Who cares if you’re gay?”
This is a great documentary to check out even if you’re not interested in skateboarding. It tells the story of a well-respected athlete coping with not being able to be himself for the better part of his career and the kind of superman he is to his peers regardless of his sexuality “He is our superhero, you can’t take that cape off once you’ve put that on him.”
If you’re interested, check out the full documentary below.