Queer-Centric Skateboarding: The Story of Glue Skateboards

Glue Title2
Being queer, a skateboarder and starting their own company in 2020;
Leo Baker, Cher Strauberry and Stephen Ostrowski are bringing a long-overdue point of view to skateboarding. Their experiences and stories couldn’t possibly be sewn up in one conversation, but this is a start. I’m excited to see them further change the world. —Todd Jordan

Glue photo 1Fishnet handover, Cher always stuns ‘em   Photo: Carabarin

Todd Jordan
: You three are all from different parts of the country and world. How did you first meet? Not as a group, but where did you come across one another for the first time?

Leo Baker: I first read an interview with Cher online where she was talking about her experience skating and stuff—wishing Meow skateboards existed back in the day, because maybe she wouldn’t have quit skating. I read that interview and then I connected with her on Instagram. It turned out she was coming to play a show in LA so we met up and skated Hollenbeck skate plaza and Boyle Heights. Then I went to a Pookie & the Poodlez show later that day. That was kind of one of the best ways to meet somebody, I thought.

TJ: Were you skating at the time, Cher?
Cher Strauberry: No, I didn’t even have a skateboard. I used your skateboard, Leo, and you gave me the first skateboard I’d had in like 11 years.

TJ: It was that long?
CS: Yeah.

TJ: Why’d you stop skateboarding for such a long time?
CS: I broke my ankle three times in one year. The doctors were like, “You’re not gonna skate for six to seven years.” I’d been skating all those contests and had just won the California Amateur Skateboard League, got a shop sponsor, was getting boards from Termite. Then it was just over. Like, game over.
Stephen Ostrowski: Side note—getting boards from Termite…
LB: I got boards from Termite for one month.
SO: That’s insane.

See the ex-Termite riders all grown up in Glue's first video output

TJ: No big deal.
CS: I had just won and my dad made a deal with the lady at the skateshop in our town. She wouldn’t sponsor anyone. My dad was like, “If I sign them up for this contest league and they win, will you sponsor them?’” She said, “Yeah, if they win first place overall, I’ll sponsor them.” And then I did, so she sponsored me and was giving me free Osiris shoes. They were the worst, too. I traded them to a different skateshop two towns over for Vans Slip-Ons! But anyway, I was just dorking around before school, doing switch drop ins. I put the same ankle over the nose and just destroyed it.
LB: No!
CS: That was the third time. It was so bad. And then I didn’t skate for years. But I’d already known about Leo from CASL and stuff, and thought they were so sick. I used to watch those YouTube videos on Lisa Whitaker’s page and was just like, Uh, dream friend! When I was living in Oakland—I’m not sure how old I was at the time—I was selling band t-shirts online and saw Leo’s name pop up on my PayPal. I was with my mom in the car and was just like, “Mom, my favorite skateboarder just bought a shirt from me!” And my mom was like, “Aw, well that’s nice, dear.” I think I wrote a note or maybe added some extra stuff?
LB: Yeah! You gave me a tape that I still have, a couple zines and maybe some stickers?
CS: I’m sure I tried to make it as cool as I could!
LB: It was great! I opened the package and was like, Look how cute! I’m never taking this shirt off. I got second place in X Games…
CS: Wearing the shirt! I saw the photo and was just like, No fucking way! My mind was blown.

TJ: That’s amazing.
CS: We met up in LA to skate that day, probably a year or two after that.
LB: You back heeled the bump! I was like, Holy shit!
CS: You were like, “If you back heel it, I’ll buy you a slice of pizza.” And I did it.

Glue photo 2Making SMUT     Photo: Quintero

TJ: Anything for pizza.
CS: Hungry band kid living life on the road? The stakes are high!
SO: You were going for the gold! Where did we meet, Leo?
LB: An afterparty. We locked eyes.
SO: Oh yeah. We were at a very skater party—the vibe was super straight. I remember just being like, God, this is kind of boring. Maybe I’ll leave. And then we locked eyes and looked at each other across the room. I started posing up against the wall.
LB: It was such a gay-ass moment.
SO: Like, Oh, me? Shh. You started doing the same thing. I think it was the first time I’d ever seen you, probably 2016. All of a sudden we started seeing each other around all the time. I would end up running into you at skateparks or out on the street.
LB: I didn’t remember your name. Maybe we didn’t even exchange them.
SO: We didn’t. I don’t think we even spoke.
LB: But I remember once seeing you hauling ass down Market St. in Chinatown and thinking, There goes—what the fuck is their name?
SO: When did we start really skating? I saw you at a skatepark or in Chinatown—at a pizza place or something stupid—and you were like, “Why aren’t we skating together? We should be. What are we doing?” Then I moved to Brooklyn and now we live super close to each other. Cher and I met at a Unity meet up when Unity came to New York. We’d talked online or something, but just like a, “You’re so great! Mwah!” kind of thing. Then you finally showed up in New York and I think Jeff Chueng hit me up to film or just to come to the meet up. I came and we ended up skating a bunch while we were there. Then I didn’t see you again until you came back last year, so we didn’t see each other for two years. When you and Tris—Tris is a close friend of mine and is in Cher’s band; she skated a lot with me when she lived here, then moved to the Bay and was living with Cher—came back for the Twompsax Tour last summer, she was like, “You’ve gotta meet up with us and come to the show.” So I went to the show and we just hung out all night and skated around. Jeff also had a show that was opening that week.
CS: Oh yeah, that was our only day off. We gave ourselves an extra day in New York. It was crazy—we had a super wild show at the Chicken Hut; we hung out all night. Then I woke up and Berto called me and was like, “Hey, you want to work at Supreme? We want you to work there.” I was just like, “Fuck yeah!” We all hung out on the roof after Jeff’s opening and Stephen was like, “I heard the news that you’re gonna work at the store.” So we were just talking about how we’re the queers of Supreme.
SO: Supremely queer.
SO: At the time I was making Gay Baker 3, so we filmed that night of Jeff’s opening.
CS: Oh yeah, we filmed a bunch of doubles lines for Gay Baker 3, just walking around. You were helping me get on top of bus stops and I was ollieing off of them. We were skating those—what are they called?
SO: Cellar doors.

Glue photo 3Feeble, uncaged! Leo back East     Photo: Quintero

TJ: What was the idea behind Gay Baker 3?
SO: Baker 3 is one of my favorite skate videos of all time. I think it’s quintessentially one of the best skate videos.
LB: I agree.
SO: Because it’s so about personality. People’s personalities really shine through, regardless of the skate footage. That was a video I grew up watching as a kid; it came out when we were all growing up. I had a friend who ran a bootleg music shop in Bangkok that I would go to to buy bootleg CDs and music you couldn’t get anywhere else—punk shit from Europe. I would go visit his shop every week and he would bootleg all this stuff for me. He started bootlegging skate videos for me because you couldn’t get skate videos in Thailand unless you special ordered them from the US. I didn’t have money to do that, so I’d just be like, “Can you find this video on Limewire, download it for me and burn it to a DVD?” I paid him to bootleg Baker 3. There are some really good skate videos that come out now, but a lot of them just wash over me and kind of all look the same. People all kind of look the same and don’t really seem to have a personality. I just really liked that from the Baker videos. I thought, What if I made Baker 3, but gay? I should just call it Gay Baker 3. At the time I was going to a lot of raves so I was filming me and my friends at parties a lot. There were a couple of friends who had grown up skating, who were queer and had quit. I was trying to get all these people I knew in the queer scene here to skate again. Just like, “Oh, you should get a few clips for my video.” It started popping off really crazy. We ended up getting to do a residency performance on Fire Island. A friend of mine at the time was gonna do an opera they’d written and they wanted Gay Baker 3 to be a part of the opera. I had the camera and filmed everything the entire time we were there. But then shit happened—if you know, you know. It fell apart in a really weird and awful way. I wanted to premiere it at a fucking cruising theater. You were gonna help me do that, Todd, and I was so fucking hyped. It would have been fucking amazing. But it dissipated because of some of the people involved. Some gnarly shit went down.
Glue Cher Strauberry We’re queer and we really wanna make parts and fuck shit up. TJ: But here we are now.
SO: Exactly. Cher had filmed some clips for the video, so we started talking about making our own video.
CS: Because Unity is so community. It’s a platform, not really a team. We’re queer and we really wanna make parts and fuck shit up.

TJ: I remember you telling me that—Unity is something that’s needed and necessary, but you all just wanna fuckin’ get clips and skate.
CS: Right, we wanna skate hard and make our own videos. Of course, I’m still a part of Unity—full-blown. When I started skating again, I was just like, I’m just gonna skate Unity boards and have it be this. As a kid, when I quit I was super depressed and bummed that I couldn’t skate, so I just ignored it completely. I canceled the Thrasher subscription, didn’t look at any magazines, was so devastated. But after Candyland came out, I was working in the shop and meeting all these new people. I didn’t know anyone from that world. I hadn’t seen any Supreme videos. People started hitting me up like crazy. Daniel Lutheran was like, “I want you to be on Toy Machine.” But then Bill Strobeck would be like, “Dill’s gonna call you. He wants you to skate FA boards.” It was like that every week for about four weeks. I remember meeting up with Jeff at a coffee shop one day and was just like, “Dude, what the fuck do I do?” He told me he was gonna start There Skateboards, which is more of a team than Unity. But then he was just kinda like, “There’s not a lot of queer representation at all. You should totally go for it. Be on FA or Toy Machine.” But Dill never called. Some boards showed up, and I was like, I don’t even know who to talk to or thank for these. Daniel Lutheran called me back and was like, “Ed just keeps saying he’s gonna hit me back. I could send you some of my boards.” And I was just like, “No, I don’t wanna be some forgotten-about flow person.” You know? I’ll just skate Unity boards, if anything. Then me and Stephen were talking about filming more together.
SO: The only tape from Gay Baker 3 that didn’t get stolen is the tape of you and me skating, which is why we were like, “Let’s film a video then.” And once all that shit started going down with you, it was more like, “Maybe we should film a video and make a company.”

TJ: When did the conversation about Glue really get for real?
SO: There were four names; Naked skateboards was one. I just like names where you can say, “It’s a ___ board” and it sounds cool. It’s a Baker board; it’s a Supreme board; it’s a Glue board; it’s a Hockey board. I want that when I hear it. We all had a bunch of ideas but Glue was—no pun intended—the first one that stuck.
CS: We all agreed on it in two seconds. Then it was like, Here we go.
LB: I feel like I’ve had this conversation a lot over the years with people like, “Let’s start a company!” Then it just falls through the cracks. This had to happen.

TJ: You start to think about all the pieces involved in it and it’s just like, Ehh, I could just keep doing what I’m doing.
CS: A week later, Leo was like, “Alright, I trademarked the name. All of our names are on it.” And me and Stephen were like, Oh fuck! Leo’s on this shit! Leo just dropped money! We gotta get our asses in gear! How much does that cost? Shit! Do we owe Leo money? We gotta fucking do this now!
SO: When the SF store opened, Cher and I were at the dinner and were talking about who else we wanted to be on a team with. We were like, Leo is so pro, we can’t just be like, “Should we make a company?” You know what I mean? So we were like, Maybe we’ll film a video first and then show it to Leo as kind of the idea? But then I went back to New York and we were skating. Leo, you were just like, “I want to just start a company.” And I was like, “Well…” I could see it in your face that you were like, Are we starting a company or not? Because I’m doing it if we don’t do it together. I was like, “Well, Cher and I were gonna try to film a video together and then show it to you and see if you were down.”

Stephen Ostrowski Pull Over Quintero 750 updateStephen Ostrowski off the rails, as not seen in Gay Baker 3    Photo: Quintero

TJ: Like a reverse sponsor-me tape.
SO: Exactly! A can-we-sponsor-you tape. You were just like, “Let’s do it.” We picked the name and you were like, “Well, I already trademarked it. I set it up.” And I was just like, “Okay, cool. I better start making graphics!”
LB: That was such a fun process, too, getting the graphic situation sorted. I love everything Stephen does aesthetically and it feels good to have a platform where I can express myself more as a queer skater and in a more raw way. Meow skateboards is obviously super sick; I love Lisa and everything she does. But I need something that fits my identity. So to be sitting here with these two amazing human beings is so perfect.
SO: You’re so sweet!
CS: Once we had that trademark, every day in the group chat it was: “Made these patches! Made these stickers! This graphic’s sick. Run it. Let’s order it! Who do I send money to? Venmo me,” all of that. Then a week before our first trip, COVID happened.

TJ: Stephen pulled me aside one day to tell me that you’re starting a company and I was like, “That’s sick!” Then you were like, “This is the name; here’s the graphics; these are the first three boards.” I was like, “Jesus Christ, you’re really starting a fucking company!” I was not expecting this right off the bat. And there was not one real criticism I could have given. It was just dope.
LB: Thanks!
SO: Thanks, Todd.

TJ: It was exciting—not that I watched it unfold, but having that insider knowledge felt fucking good for me. I know, and I think everyone knows, that you all are far more than just skateboarders. Outside of being great skateboarders, each of you are super creative and have such unique style. I know you all feed off each other, too. What were some influences outside of skateboarding, whether musically, artistically or fashion that made you all tick in that sense?
LB: Having like a lo-fi sort of grittiness to the graphics is one thing. Major queer influence is another. A lot of the graphics come from Stephen’s brain.

TJ: Not really knowing the queer influence, what is that?
SO: Like, what is the queering of skating?

TJ: Yeah.
CS: A lot of the aesthetic and things come from zines and our paintings.
SO: I also like the valley of things being devastating and cute, brutal and nice at the same time—crushed candy or a broken piggy bank, a caterpillar chopped in half, balloons stuck in a tree. We started just making posters first and Minimal-Man-style flyers.
CS: Eighties punk flyers, but of ourselves. You’d just take photos of me and my band playing music and xerox them a bunch of times. We both have label makers—Stephen has a new one and I have an old punchy one—and just keep sending different quotes including Glue in them.

Glue photo 4Stephen assists Cher with a fakie apple bob     Photo: Quintero

TJ: Aside from you three being the representatives and the founders, what makes Glue what other companies aren’t? I used to think skateboarding was sick because it felt accepting for everyone, right? But it wasn’t. Because you all feel that way.
SO: A big part of why I wanted to do this—aside from being able to connect and make a platform together—is that there’s basically no real queer representation in skating. Most of it is very individualistic, which is where Unity came in and was super important. Because it wasn’t even a company; it was just making space for people where there wasn’t space. People feel that skating is super inclusive, but really all you have to do is read the room. Who’s getting the resources? Who gets to go on trips? Who gets to be pro? Who gets their names on a board, or a wheel or a shoe? Leo’s one of the only—there’s obviously people from the previous generation who are established in that way—but there’s not very many. You’re really almost the only one right now, until just recently, who’s been under that magnifying glass.
LB: And it honestly took forever to get to that place. What makes you a pro? What does that even fucking mean if I’m on the sidelines working a full-time job paying for my own flights while I see all these companies dumping buckets of money on white dudes who all look the same and are super forgettable?
SO: Or even just championing fully called-out rapists who get to have full careers. This is a systemic issue.

Glue photo 7While the biz dumps buckets of money on boring white dudes, Stephen drops bombs on Cher’s smoke break     Photo: Custer

LB: I have to work eight times as fucking hard to get a tiny fraction of what they get. I don’t know how inclusive that is, really.
SO: Society in general puts this pressure on marginalized people that’s just like, You’re not working hard enough. That totally erases the systemic structure in place in basically every industry that gatekeeps the resources from marginalized groups. If a few people are able to break the surface tension to actually receive resources and support, that’s kind of looked at as like, Oh, Leo’s queer so skateboarding loves queer people. Meanwhile, Cher lives in a closet.
CS: When Stephen made that Instagram edit of clips from Ether—which like, I don’t know. Did no one fucking see it? Because it’s sick as fuck!—people were just like, “Oh my God, Stephen’s sick.” Sometimes I think, Are we working enough? And that made me realize, We’ve been working this whole fucking time! We have books out, paintings out, I’ve toured all over the world. But for me to get any sort of anything—that back heel in Thrasher with Atiba and Bill, a check mark from them is, Oh now you wanna fuck with me? People I’ve seen at skate spots every single time who didn’t wanna talk to me. Stephen has ten parts that are all fucking INSANE, you know? So why am I just on flow for someone? We need to validate each other and hook each other up.

Glue Leo Baker Quote There’s no van that I want to be in until we create it.
LB: For sure, and that’s a huge part of what Glue is. We’re all sort of fragmented out and tokenized on all these different companies—those of us who do get recognition—so they can check their own boxes. Glue is just a platform to celebrate queer skateboarding and skateboarding in general.
SO: Yeah, it’s not even queer-exclusive. I just don’t see a company that’s doing what we’re doing. I don’t see people like us getting supported. Even coming out is super hard, especially when you grow up skating and think, There’s no room for me to be both of these things. There’s this tension of, Do I go skating with skate people who know I’m queer but don’t really even acknowledge it? Or people who sort of use the, “I don’t care if you’re queer, it’s okay…” that’s very dismissive.
LB: I got hit up to go on a company and I was thinking about it like, I definitely don’t want to be in that van with those dudes. No! There’s no van that I want to be in until we create it. There has to be something for us, where we can show to the next generation of kids that it’s possible. You can be queer, you can be trans, you can be whatever and you can really skate. There is a spot for you.
CS: You don’t have to prove yourself in skateboarding and then come out, the kind of Brian Anderson way.
LB: And me, too, kind of. People would be like, “Oh, you’re Lacey Baker,” but I’ve known since I was 22, Fuck, I’m trans and I don’t know what the hell I’m supposed to do with that. Do I skate or do I come out?
SO: Because it felt like you had to pick one.
LB: For many years.

Marisa Front Board 750Everyone wanted more Marisa. Front board from Zero's Strange World video, 2009

Glue Stephen Ostrowski Skating has failed Marisa Dal Santo

TJ: I remember Brian going through that process. I was touring with him and was kind of let in on that secret. And that’s when I realized how fucking homophobic skateboarding was, because he was having such a hard time. I remember thinking, Imagine however many fucking kids in middle America who are buying Girl skateboards are not gonna buy that one because of that fact about him.
SO: Going back to the idea of resources, I also think there’s full generations of people who really could have been amazing skateboarders and visible queer people who were essentially silenced or gave up. So many people feel like there’s no room for them, so they give up. I’m just such a stubborn bitch who’s not quitting. You’re not gonna make me quit.
CS: We think about Marisa a lot.
SO: Skating has failed Marisa Dal Santo.
CS: Marisa Dal Santo is the sickest skateboarder. That one part is just so insane. Hitting everything the boys are doing ten-fold. Shit that boys don’t do.
SO: Kickflip melon-ing an eight block.
CS: Crooked grind, fuckin’ tail grabs.
LB: Varial heel.
CS: Zero, Jamie Thomas totally failed her. She was working in the warehouse.
LB: And living in the warehouse at Black Box.
SO: She didn’t get turned pro ’til years later.
LB: She didn’t even get turned pro! It was a guest board.
SO: She should have gone pro immediately after that part. There’s this marginalization that says Marisa’s a woman, so she should be grateful she has any resources. But she took those resources and turned it into literal fucking gold. Then everyone was like, It’s not shiny enough.
CS: We think about that a lot. And we want to do it right.
SO: It sucks that Brian felt like there wasn’t space made for him to be comfortable to be like, I can just be me and kill it. He had to kill it and then times changed enough…

Glue photo 5Gloves on, shirts off, Cher shreds the street in style     Photo: Quintero

TJ: Just enough. Was he even sure that times had changed enough? I don’t think so.
LB: And I think it’s really affected him. I don’t want to speak for him, but I’ve spent enough time with him to know that he spent his whole life in the closet, and then all of a sudden, the coolest thing ever is a gay skater and he’s just trying to navigate that. Getting put on blast, getting all these interviews, questions, all this shit. As if there wasn’t all of this trauma to come with that for so many fucking years. It’s just shitty.
SO: There’s also this weird skate media erasure, too. Why are we erasing Elissa from that conversation—like, what’s that?
LB: For sure! I saw this headline like, “First gay pro skater ever!” And a friend was like, “But what about Vanessa Torres, Leo, Alexis, Elissa?” All these fucking names of people who are super out, super gay and pro skaters? Oh, but they don’t count.
SO: Because they’re trans or women.
LB: And it’s not to knock Brian’s existence, because there’s more of a stigma, I think, if you’re a dude and you come out as gay. Because everyone thinks every girl skater’s a lesbian. Everyone knows that and no one cares.
SO: It’s erasure.
LB: And now skateboarding gets a pat on the back because they’re all of a sudden accepting Brian? What? No! You get no credit here. None.

Glue photo 6Glued for life    Photo: Quintero 

CS: When Spitfire posted that thing of me that I filmed in one day, a minute of footage, with a person I’d never met before—like, here’s 600 comments to show you that skateboarding is not inclusive whatsoever. I had over 40 death threats just from that.
SO: The amount of death threats I get from skateboarders—skaters love telling us to kill ourselves.
CS: I never had the option of being able to hide. I’m trans. I’m a woman. I can’t hide this. I sacrificed a lot of fucking things, sure, but things I don’t even want. There’s just no other way. The moment I found out you could take hormones and transition, the next day I was making calls to clinics. Like, This is what I’ve been waiting for forever. I didn’t know you could even do that. Here we go! Absolutely, yes. That’s what’s wrong! I’m trying to live as this boy and I’m not! So I’ve just never been hiding, either. If that makes sense.
SO: This is what really makes me realize how transphobic, homophobic and sexist skateboarding is—I have had so many guys, especially, come out to me and say, “I feel like I’m gay, but I can’t say anything.” It’s 2020. Having these conversations like, You can live whatever your truth is, but them still feeling like they can’t—that’s the problem. If there are people hitting me up, seeing me live my truth but immediately afterwards feeling like they can’t do that. “I’m not queer like you are.” No, you just mean you can blend in and hide, but I stick out and everyone notices. My only option was coming out and saying, This is who I am, or burying it and disappearing.

Glue photo 8Boardslide over the rainbow, Leo Baker is a true trailblazer     Photo: Quintero

TJ: What does the future hold? What can people expect from Glue, as a brand and an ethos?
SO: We just wanted to make something that’s actually inclusive and not just in a check-mark way—and not queer-exclusive. There are kids who are gonna be involved in what we’re doing and some of them are not queer. Some of them are straight kids. But they get it. They get what’s going on, can read the room and say, “This shit sucks for people like you. I don’t want to be a part of that.” And that’s crazy, that there are 18-year-old kids who fully get it. I look at these kids and know they fully see me, value me and want to be a part of what we’re doing because they want to be a part of the thing that’s actually supporting everybody.
CS: We’re definitely gonna make a bunch of videos and go on trips as soon as we can. We were missing this—being all together.
SO: When COVID happened, we were all filming separately just wherever we were and we were like, Well, we guess the video could be done. Cher was the one who talked to Jim from Spitfire and said, “I’m not even sure the video should be done if we’re not together.”
CS: We finished the video. Like, could have dropped it. But then I had a conversation with Jim and was like, "The only thing I don’t like about our video is that there’s no footage of us together. I do the trick, then I land and roll away and there’s no one there to give me a high five. I’m just doing it alone. I want to see Leo and Stephen’s faces at the end. I need them there.”
SO: I couldn’t have done that trick without you two there the other day. You just gassed me up so crazy like, “YOU ARE THAT BITCH. DO IT THIS TRY!” And I did because you told me to do it!
CS: And it’s not just about us. We’re not doing this just for us. We each picked two people.
LB: We’ve got some ams. I think there’s something to be said, too, just about us coming together as a unit and this happening for the first time in skating, almost ever. There skateboards exists and is a queer skate brand, too.
SO: Which is fucking sick.
LB: Super sick. But I’ve never been in a position like this. I’ve been in the van, I’ve been on King of the Road, been with all these fucking dudes driving me nuts, being so rude without even knowing it, then I’ve had to skate in front of them and it feels awkward. But to be here, on a trip right now and to be skating with people who fucking get it on a level—there’s just a different understanding. Having that understanding, mutually, creates a safe space.
SO: We don’t have to always explain ourselves, we just get to go and do it. Educating people is important, but at a certain point I want to use my energy to do my thing. And that’s only gonna happen if I’m around people who not only let me do my thing, but encourage it—people who want to see me be my most authentic self.
CS: Each of us skating individually and filming, going as hard as we can—we’re each super lucky if we meet someone like Richard, my friend Dan or Cooper. We each have just been going out with one filmer who’s down to take photos. But all these boys are gassing each other up and have fat crews to skate with! If we’re a part of any of those crews, we get our clip and we’re off to the fucking side. It just feels very generic. Where the fuck is our crew? We have to make a crew. No one’s gonna hit us up. We’ve waited our whole fucking lives and no one’s done it. So we have to make our space to do it for each other.

Untitled.00 02 44 02.Still110 copy RICHARD QUINTERO DZ 2000pxPhoto: Quintero

SO: I know that we all grew up in an environment where there wasn’t a lot of visibility of queer people, trans people or anyone who wasn’t a straight man. Thinking about all the videos I watched growing up—all the videos we all watched growing up—there’s just no representation of somebody like me. We talk about getting death threats and shit, but I also get a lot of kids who are like, “You really changed my life because I see your video parts and I watch you skating. It makes me realize I can just do me and say ‘fuck you’ to everything else. I can do it.”
CS: I get the same thing. People being like, “I saw you skating in a skirt and fishnets and like, What the fuck? She just wears whatever she wants and does it?” In my head, I’m like, Well, duh.
CS: But to other people it’s like, You’re allowed to do that? You’re allowed to do whatever the fuck you want! You can wear whatever you want. There’s so many kids, they’d blow your mind. Like Arin? Did you see the clip she posted today?
SO and LB: Varial heel manual frontside flip?
CS: All of a sudden, just out of nowhere, this Black trans girl comes through with the most insane shit, just shitting on so many people.
SO: She’s laughing while doing the tech-est shit ever.
CS: And she’s a nurse! Working through COVID! Doing double kickflip noseslides. I went to message her, because well like, You’re my dream come true. I saw that a year and a half before she’d messaged me, “I really look up to you and I wanted to ask you about hormones.” We talked for like a week or something! Her accounts were different but I was like, Holy shit! This was a really good skateboarder and I typed that! “You’re untouchable. No one can tell you shit. If you wanna take hormones, take ’em!” I try to take a few hours each night and go through DMs—block all the fucked-up ones and respond to the nice ones, because you never know. Now she’s got over 100,000 followers and has more sponsors than she knows what to do with. The entire Baker team comments on every post. She’s fucking gonna change the world!
SO: If we do this now, just to show that you can do it, the next generation of kids is going to be so fucked. You won’t be able to tell them shit.

TJ: The amount of people that each of you touch is mind boggling. The empowerment that you all are spreading to be yourselves is insane.
CS: A lot of people are scared to be themselves. But these kids are gonna do it bigger and better than the three of us could ever imagine. You can make a video and put whatever you want in it. Me and Leo put our hormone shots in the video! You can do whatever you want. I don’t think a lot of people know that. We all think, God, what if this company existed when we were 15? We would have flipped the fuck out! Because now the 15 year olds who see what we’re doing—I can’t wait to be the old lady scanning boards and shit for them! There are some bricks out of the wall, but we’re just gonna sledgehammer that shit. We’re trying to destroy it.
SO: I don’t know what the fuck will come of that, but I can’t wait to see it. Giving people resources validates what they’re doing and they want to do it more. So if we’re validating young kids who are queer or trans or girls or just get the vibe, they can really take it to the next level to say, “I can just be this person, skate like this, look this way and receive resources to do my best.”

Glue photo 9Cher plants a bean so the next generation can sprout     Photo: Quintero
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