Legendary Skater Brian Anderson Comes Out As Gay

"I was a big, tough skateboarder—they're not gonna question that."

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.

ed templeton brian anderson
Ed Templeton

“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.”

“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.)

brian anderson

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.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.