EDITORIALPHOTO ESSAYSARCHIVALFILMMAGAZINECONTACT

PHOTOGRAPHED BY

Claire Shilland

Casting BY

Hannah Elwell

Interviewed by

Michael Harding

Photo Essays

unity

PHOTOGRAPHED BY

Claire Shilland

Casting BY

Hannah Elwell

Interviewed by

Michael Harding

Rai


Age and how long you been skating for?


I'm Rai. 21 years old and have been skating for about a year.


What drew you to skateboarding and are there any queer skaters that you’re hyped on at the moment?


I wanted to skate since I was young, so I jumped at the chance when I found a local LGBTQ+ group because all of a sudden, the community felt more accessible to me. In terms of queer skaters that I’m hyped on at the moment, I would say check out Kane A. Caples (@kaneacaples on IG). They are pretty great in my opinion!


Do you think the skate community is being more supportive of LGBTQ skaters?


To be honest, yeah, for the most part. There’s been a lot of support from people who are interested in everyone learning to skate and agree skating is for everyone. I agree with this attitude, however I have also witnessed arrogance from people who have this idea that skateboarding is some kind of boys™️ club. This proves that there is still a long away to go, to dismantle stereotypes for the LGBTQ+ skate community.


Has being part of the skate scene influenced your tastes in music, films and other creative things?


Yes, skating has for sure influenced my creativity. It’s mainly due to the people I meet, but also the places I go. It’s opened up my mind to a lot more and I think that is one of the most significant ways in which skate culture can influence a person’s taste and probably their creativity too.


Does skateboarding influence the way you approach life? If so, in what ways creatively?


Yeah, skateboarding has helped me to appreciate the little things more. This ranges from simple pleasures like hanging out with friends all day, or skating home on an empty road at 2 in the morning! This kind of approach to life has meant I get out of my head a lot more and that has a very positive effect on my general well-being. I find my world has opened up since skating and I’m accessing new areas of the city, which encourages creativity, allowing me to do things I never thought I could.

Bjort

Age and how long you been skating for?

I’m 23 years old. I’ve been skating really inconsistently since I was a kid, although gave up when I was around 13 and didn’t come back to it again, until I was 18.

What drew you to skateboarding and are there any queer skaters that you’re hyped on at the moment?

I started to get back into skateboarding around the same time my friend was also starting to skate, but I didn’t really get going until I moved to Spain and couldn’t take my bike. I wanted a way to travel around more easily, and I ended up passing a lot of time skating and exploring different corners of the city with my board. Queer skaters that I love at the moment include; @kaneacaples, @leo_baker, @trans.sender. I love seeing trans and non-binary people have fun and disregard bro culture to do things on their own terms.

Do you think the skate community is being more supportive of LGBTQ skaters?

This question of whether the skate community is being more supportive of LGBTQ skaters is a tough one to answer. To be honest, I’m biased because my experience of skate community is a queer one that I found through Sibling (@sibling_ldn). More widely, it seems that queer skaters are still carving out their own spaces within other more established skate scenes. It’s important they get more visibility, especially on social media, so it’s great to see people like Leo Baker and Jenn Soto have mainstream success in the industry. That’s definitely progress, but I don’t know if the average skatepark seems any less intimidating to visibly queer skaters because of it. I think, it’s important the skate community as a whole continues to recognise this.

Has being part of the skate scene influenced your tastes in music, films and other creative things?

I’ve met so many creative people making art and music through skating in London. My style is also influenced by the queer skaters that I follow on social media, so I ‘ve been influenced creatively in these ways.

Does skateboarding influence the way you approach life? If so in what ways creatively?

I think there’s often a feeling, as queer people, that you have to try and be inconspicuous, or that you have to monitor yourself in public and censor your appearance or behaviour. Skateboarding has taught me to laugh off falling over in front of other people and it’s made me a lot less self-conscious about looking foolish or drawing attention to myself in public, especially when I’m with skate friends somewhere more public.


Jamie Allen Shaw

Age and how long you been skating for?

A Lady never tells

What drew you to skateboarding and are there any queer skaters that you're hyped on at the moment?

I was drawn to skateboarding at a time when it was extremely heteronormative, or more to the point, just for the boys. In my experience, I found skating to be a good release as a middle-class suburban kid, who hit their teens right when their family split. In all honesty, at first, I used skating as a way to fit in because that’s what a few of my local friends were in to. I was young and we would burn stuff and get up to no good which was fun! The rest is history because once you’re in to skating, it never really leaves you and the urge to skate is there even if it becomes less regular. I'm into each and every queer skater out there because I'm super impressed and enamoured by them. I never thought I would see the day when queer skaters would become a reality for the skate community, so the fact these role models exist and are celebrated is incredibly exciting.

Do you think the skate community is being supportive of LGBTQ Skaters?

Yes, I think so. If you're good at skating or just thoroughly into it, that energy of enthusiasm resonates very easily within the community. It’s probably intimidating for anyone to enter a skatepark at the best of times, but in my experience, loyalty and respect is something that is shared between the LGBTQ and skate communities. In that sense we all look after each other and the community is supportive.

Has being part of the skate scene influenced your tastes in music, films and other creative things?

Yes, without a doubt, skating has influenced my taste over the years and there are many skate related influences in my life; Flip Sorry, Bus Driver, Moving Units, Shocking Blue, Ed Templeton, Alleged Gallery, all came from skating. I’m sure these influences have in some way contributed to the person I am today and also where I am, in terms of career and the creative projects I’m interested in working on.

Does skateboarding influence the way you approach your life? if so in what ways creatively?

Yes, skating can help anyone find or create their own path and for me this was a creative one. The weirdos are always welcome and the skate community sort of nurtures these people, helping them to be proud of whatever they are in to. I certainly learned a lot through the social aspect of skating and meeting new people, which helped me to more easily express myself over time. For example, jumping down a flight of stairs teaches you that taking risks can be rewarding and in turn, you can apply this rhetoric to other aspects of your life. All of a sudden, you might find yourself experimenting with clothes, or art because you’ve built up confidence and certain aspects of your life feel less daunting.

Violet


Age and how long you been skating for?


N/A


What drew you to skateboarding and are there any queer skaters that you’re hyped on at the moment?


I was drawn to skateboarding by my brother who skateboards.  I thought it looked really cool, so when I had more time on my hands during lockdown, I went down to the local skatepark and started skating. At the moment, in terms of queer skaters, I’m very fond of Toby Quick from Winchester.


Do you think the skate community is being more supportive of LGBTQ skaters?


Yes, I think the skate community is very welcoming and supportive of the LGBTQ community. I suppose, I am influenced by the queer skaters that I enjoy following and this gives me confidence as a queer skater myself.


Has being part of the skate scene influenced your tastes in music, films and other creative things?


I would say so yes, ever since I started skating, I’ve been listening to more upbeat, vibey and indie music. I also watch a lot of skate vids on YouTube, which is another very positive influence on my life.

Harvee


Age and how long you been skating for?


I’m 14 years old and I started skating around May, although I started going to the skatepark consistently mid lockdown. Previously, when I was younger, I rode a penny board!


What drew you to skateboarding and are there any queer skaters that you’re hyped on at the moment?


I would say, the thing that drew me to skateboarding, is being able to try new things in the safety of friends and a really supportive community. In my experience, even when you get knocked down, or don’t complete a trick, your friends and other people at the skatepark will encourage you to get back up and try again. A queer skater I’m particularly drawn to at the moment, is Kane Caples because they have a great sense of style.


Do you think the skate community is being more supportive of LGBTQ skaters?


In short, yes, I feel the skate community is becoming more supportive of LGBTQ+ skaters, as people from all different genders and sexualities are being treated as equals. Queer skaters are also getting more recognition from within the community, which leads to influencer opportunities, especially for the younger generation.


Has being part of the skate scene influenced your tastes in music, films and other creative things?


Yes, I would say being part of the skate scene has influenced my style because I’m starting to wear more chill and comfy clothing. In terms of films, music and other creative things, these haven’t changed as drastically, so in that sense, I think the main influence of skating on my creative life has been through fashion.



Does skateboarding influence the way you approach life? If so, in what ways creatively?


Yes, skateboarding has definitely influenced my outlook on life. It’s taught me that even when you get knocked down multiple times, in life or skating, you can always get back up again. If you master a trick, your efforts will be rewarded by the satisfaction, which relates to a feeling of achievement that I now strive for.

Kyra

Age and how long you been skating for?

Hi, my name is Kyra. I’m 17 years old and I’ve been skating for three years.

What drew you to skateboarding and are there any queer skaters that you’re hyped on at the moment?

I was drawn to skating through the sense of community and because there is something very special about coming together over a shared love of skating. Personally, I wanted to find a community that wasn’t afraid to look rustic and wouldn’t judge each other for enjoying a more hectic approach to life. No one really springs to mind, in terms of queer skaters that I’m hyped on at the moment.

Do you think the skate community is being more supportive of LGBTQ skaters?

Yes, 100%! I really agree the community is being more supportive of LGBTQ skaters, which is so important for queer teens, as this helps people to discover who they really are. Despite this support, I believe there is still a long way to go, especially for LGBTQ girl skaters. In my experience, they are idealised within the community, or perhaps even tokenised in some way and treated as a novelty because the scene is still quite male dominated. I

Has being part of the skate scene influenced your tastes in music, films and other creative things?

Yes, I think skating has broadened my circle of friends, which means I’m constantly being introduced to new music and art, through people from within the community. Crucially, I have discovered new ways to dress and picked up on different styles, meeting people at their favourite chill spots.  

Does skateboarding influence the way you approach life? If so, in what ways creatively?

Yes, I really think skateboarding has influenced my life creatively. For example, I’ve been to various different events and discovered new areas of London through skating, which helps grow the community. The creative influence happens naturally because everyone is learning from each other and it feels limitless. Personally, I gain something through talking to fellow skaters because they are likely to be open minded and share their own similar experiences. It’s all about learning from each other and passing on the adventures, so we can help to provide an even better community for future LGBTQ skaters.

Twyla


Age and how long I’ve been skating for:


I’m 23 and started out longboarding. I did that for about 4 years, before I moved to London and started regular skating. I’ve been doing it for about two months now!


What drew you to skateboarding and are there any queer skaters that you’re hyped on at the moment?


I was drawn to skateboarding because it combines sport and socialising. Everyone you meet is at a different level, so the only person you’re truly competitive with is yourself. This creates an atmosphere of being stoked for others when they get a new trick, as well as a sense of belonging to a group. Personally, my world is confined to the parks I skate in, rather than the household names people get hyped on and follow through social media. In fact, there’s an amazing group of young queer folks here at the Bumps skate spot and it’s great just watching them grow. They’re all aged between 11-14 years old and act so unapologetically themselves.


Do you think the skate community is being more supportive of LGBTQ skaters?


I think this is a complex issue. Personally, on a local basis, I’ve noticed there is a supportive atmosphere for LGBTQ+ skaters, but a lot of skate culture is still very cis-straight-male focussed. In this way, the community is lacking in the inclusion of role models on a more commercial level, which I hope will improve in the future.


Has being part of the skate scene influenced your tastes in music, films and other creative things?


The skate scene helped me to meet other creatives and it continues to influence my taste, mainly through exposure to many different kinds of people. In this way, skating has also challenged me to explore my own style, finding clothes that feel comfortable, allow me skate freely and still look snazzy. I believe it’s possible to look cute, even when sweating buckets, you know?



Does skateboarding influence the way you approach life? If so, in what ways creatively?


My life has certainly been influenced by skating, mainly in terms of the repetition that comes with it. This mindset can be transferred to my life more generally as it helps me to be more determined. I also think skating the same spot every day, but still finding new ways to make it interesting, is a good exercise in staying curious.


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