Legendary skateboarder Brian Anderson, who came on the scene in the late 90s and blew everyone away with his daring moves, has come out as gay.
He spoke about his sexuality in the latest installment of Vice Sports’ Reda for the World with Giovanni Reda.
“People ask, ’Why are you doing this now and not earlier?’ It would have been a lot more beneficial.'” he admits.
“Because I was pretty freaked out, you know what I mean? I was really scared, and people would have perceived it a lot differently, I think, had I said this 15 years ago.”
Anderson was able to slip by, in part, because he doesn’t fit the stereotype of what we consider a gay man: Thrasher magazine described him as “this barbaric dude,” and his friends in the video refer to him as “”burly,” “intimidating”… “an ax murderer.”
Gnarlier than any skateboarding trick ever done, Brian Anderson just changed our world, & the world. An AMAZING day for skateboarding ❤️ pic.twitter.com/CJ7tTaItcq
— Robert Brink (@RobertBrink) September 27, 2016
“I was a big, tough skateboarder,” says Anderson. “They’re not gonna question that. Nobody thought anything.”
Anderson turned pro around August 1998, and a year later was named Thrasher’s Skater of the Year. At 40, he’s still riding, and has sponsorships with Spitfire wheels and Nike. (his signature Nike SB shoe launched in 2013.)
Ironically, he says, carrying the burden of his sexuality may have pushed him to take more risks on the board. “A part of me was so irritated and angry from holding that in so it made me more of an animal on my skateboard.”
There have been other gay skaters—longtime followers of the sport are mentioning Jarrett Berry and Tim Von Werne—but none reached the level Anderson did, and none have been embraced so swiftly after coming out.
See Brian in action below.