The news that broke this week that skateboarder Brian Anderson is gay has been met with rapturous applause throughout much of the skateboarding world, and associated media. And it is good news. But it’s also abhorrent that it is even news at all.
Anybody that’s stood on a sheet of grip-tape in anger will know who Brian Anderson is, but if you’re not that familiar with him, he’s very much the skateboarders skateboarder. He’s a beast of a man, willing to take slam after slam after slam to get that trick, and get it right.
His focus on skating appears laser-guided. His commitment to it is unwavering. His presence alone makes the biggest, highest, toughest hubba or stair-set almost shrink in fear. His kickflip is always, always flawless. He’s won the prestigious Skater Of The Year award in 1999, and was crowned World Champion that same year.
Forget X Games gold’s. Forget 900’s and 1080’s. Forget mega-ramps, video games, mainstream endorsements, Instagram followers, YouTube views and invitations to the White House. We’re not knocking those achievements, but to the core skateboard community, it’s the achievements of Brian Anderson that count, and this is important.