The never-ending debate over gay boys/men participating in the skateboarding subculture rages on. You’d be surprised by some of the vitriolic comments I receive from homophobic skaters. And you’d be saddened by comments I receive from closeted gay skaters, some of them as young as thirteen. Among the latter comments, the most frequent statement I hear is this: “I feel lonely, isolated and a little scared. I don’t have any gay friends and no one knows I’m gay.”
Yesterday I received such a comment from a gay skateboarder named Julian, age fifteen, who lives in the San Francisco Bay area. He didn’t say which town, probably for good reason. Julian said the following:
“I live with my mom and sister. My dad left us when I was eight. I think my mom was afraid I’d become a sissy, without my dad around. She bought me my first skateboard when I was ten. I learned from guys in my neighborhood and practiced a lot, then I started going to the skatepark, learning tricks and I got pretty good. Last year I placed third in my age division at a comp in Oakland. I was up against some pretty tough grinders.
“I’m not a sissy, Martin. But I am gay, I know I am. I’m not interested in girls in a sexual way, though I do have friends who are girls. I am only attracted to guys. My problem is I don’t have any gay friends. I tried going to a gay teen support group meeting, but the kids there were kind of messed up, not people I’d want to hang out with.
“I had one skater friend who I thought I could trust. I told him I was gay and he told me he was cool with it, no problem. But after a while he stopped calling me and stopped hanging with me at the skatepark. It was all subtle, but after a while I knew he wasn’t going to be my friend any longer. Well, at least he hasn’t told anyone that I am gay.
“My point is, I don’t think it is wise for me, or any other gay skater, to come out to guys in the skater world. It’s just too homophobic. I wish it wasn’t this way, but it is. Skating’s important to me, it’s the coolest thing in my life. I don’t want to feel uncomfortable when I visit the skatepark. I don’t want guys talking about me behind my back and calling me a fag. I plan to keep my gayness a secret.”
Thanks for writing, Julian. I’m sorry about your friend rejecting you. Trust me, you will eventually find a gay skater friend, if not through a local support group, then online. I know for a fact there are many gay skaters out there, of all ages. Be patient.
Okay, my fish dinner last night was a success, I love that marinade recipe. My guests left around ten PM and by the time I finished cleaning up I felt exhausted. It seems like I’ve been on the go now for a week, nonstop. I went to bed around eleven and fell asleep reading a new book I just bought, The Vast Fields Of Ordinary. So far, I really like it.
I have a quiet day ahead. I’ll write for a while, then I have yard work to do this afternoon. The weather here is beautful today: warm and sunny, with a light breeze. This evening I’ll make dinner for myself and a relative, then I’ll spend more time reading The Vast Fields Of Ordinary.
Enjoy your Thursday, everyone.