Last year pro-skater Brian Anderson came out as gay, becoming the first openly gay high profile skater. Now, in a new interview for The New Yorker, the pro opens up about what coming out was like for him.
The video merges archival footage of Anderson throughout his career with a candid interview. It's clear that having to pretend to be straight took its toll on the skater. “There were all these things around me in society that were telling me, ‘Do not tell anybody this stuff.’ I was really lonely,” he says.
“It was hard to pretend. It felt good to get hurt, rough myself up, bleed. I think I was so angry a lot of times, hearing these things... I would clench my fists, and just be like, ’I’m taking this out on my board.'”
After coming out to his family — "it felt like the lighting in the room changed" — the skater then decided to come out publicly.
It still wasn't an easy decision for Anderson, but knowing that it would impact fans gave him the courage. "It is scary to put myself out there like that," he says. "But seeing what kids are going through, not knowing where to turn, committing suicide, that gave me a huge amount of commitment to do it."
The video also reveals that Anderson is the first openly gay athlete — in any sport — to have a signature shoe, proving that despite significant progress, we still have a long way to go. Watch the video above.
Now, revisit our interview with Brian right here.