The world is a scary, fucked up place right now, and somehow, after so many years, skateboarding seems to finally be getting it right again. Who. Would. Have. Thunk.
In it’s dawn, skateboarding was created as an alternative… TO SURFING, which itself was considered totally “far out.” Alongside the mesmerizing coordination and trickery, many of us were drawn to skateboarding as youth because of its original outsider, anti-establishment, unconventional culture. When I first got my grubby hands on a skateboard in the 80s, I worshiped those dorky older skaters with their copers and stupid haircuts.
As a young female skater in a small town in the late 90s/early 2000s I was deeply disappointed in the harsh reality I witnessed. Like many other BIGFOOT lurkers at the time, I mostly skated with guys. And back then, in that town, a bunch of those guys were sexist, racist, violent, predatory, homophobic assholes. And it sure seemed like they were winning. The meanest, loudest guys ruled the scene and the girls got treated like trash. I have a million fucked up stories. I never understood why we were the pariahs of this alternative culture that I was introduced to as freakish and authentic. It never made any sense. And for better or worse, the misery I had to endure to be a skateboarder in my youth shaped who I am today. And there’s a side of me that is still really pissed. And motivated (so thanks).
Following my dream to create a better landscape for women in skateboarding, I did an internship at SG Magazine in 2005 under the leadership of Melissa Larsen and Kim Stravers, two hard working, insanely talented women dedicated to elevating women in “action sports”. In a recent conversation with Kim we remembered how then, many of the girl skaters were gay but it was this weird, forbidden industry secret. For the most part, the athletes themselves didn’t mind showing their authentic selves, even as many were in the process of navigating their own sexuality. But there was an unseen corporate overlord in charge of the almighty dollar that said girls wouldn’t be marketable in skating if they were gay. There were only a few companies that even supported women’s skate. It was similar within the world of surfing. There was no other option than to acquiesce.
Eleven years later, when Brian Anderson came out in Vice, it was a groundbreaking event. And a big relief, to him and many others who had harbored this secret for so long. There was only one problem- he really wasn’t the first “pro skateboarder to come out” as was repeatedly stated. So many women skaters had been out for what seemed like forever. I’m saying that now because I thought it was weird, and still do. Even in gay skateboarder street cred, women appeared to have been overlooked.
But whatever. Maybe it was all worth it because the new climate of queer skateboarding rules. Fuck. FINALLY. We aren’t here to pander to the status fucking quo. We’re here to be trailblazers & tastemakers. To smash ceilings. To rebel against tyranny. Not to BE the oppressors. This is skateboarding as it should be. It’s not about what race you are or who you want to bang. It’s about having fun rolling around on a wooden toy, being a freak and eating shit. I’m so happy that the tide has finally turned. It feels like the earth’s magnetic pull was off axis and finally, it has righted itself. But this time, let’s not forget the past. No more beating up on the less celebrated or fortunate. Cause being a fucking dickhead is not cool. Being yourself is. Roll with us. -Migz