I’ve been ridiculously busy and had/have about 2,361,088 things on my mind. The weekend before my moving road trip Kansas Raph and Anastaysia wanted to hang out. We went to San Pedro for the day, hit the park, had lunch, roamed the aquarium, and stopped by the Korean Friendship Bell. What stands out? I realized that the people I keep around, the ones I care to reach out to, are special because they are weird, funny, dorky, sweet, or flat out just interesting. Those people reflect some part of me. Anyway we had a grand ole time.
I was on TCU when I ran across a post linking to an article about a transgender skateboarder named Hillary, a girl who was born a boy, and has loved skating as either gender. At first I think, “Oh that’s cool; a very relevant issue in today’s society is being tackled in the skateboarding world.” And then I got worried. I’ve still got a few femme friends who compete. And girl skaters have a rough time finding a competition with a girls’ class. Now what if Hillary decides to compete? Does she get put in the men’s class or the women’s class?
Let’s back up for second. The reason why sports competitions are divided by sex is because there are incontrovertible differences in the physiology of men and women. That’s fair. And it’s that difference in physiology (which begins at puberty) that allows guys to naturally progress faster than girls in most any sport, and likely push farther. This is not to say that women can’t be as good as men. What I’m saying is that for a woman to match up with the top men in her sport, she would likely have to put in extra effort to gain a muscle mass closer to that of a man her height. Now maybe this isn’t super dramatic in skateboarding, but it’s plain as day in BMX. It’s why you likely won’t see many girls doing triple whips, flip double whips, or 360 double whips to late barspins. If you do find a girl who can do those tricks, I’ll bet she’ll be buff and ripped, like a shirtless Larry Edgar with boobs. That’s science. We girls have natural hurdles to overcome in our progression. So having separate classes is the appropriate way to go, and we’re excited when a competition offers us a separate class. We don’t have the numbers to always fill those classes but we try really hard to get the word out. Trust me, we appreciate it. Just ask Amelia Brodka (Underexposed) or Angie Marino (Yeah Zine)
So let’s get back to our transgender boarder, Hillary, and her hypothetical interest in entering a skateboarding competition. She might want to be placed in the women’s division. But while she might look like a woman, her bones and muscles belong to that of a man. Even if she looks as thin as the next girl, is it fair to place her in the women’s division? Would it be fair to place a transgender guy (girl ->boy) in the men’s division? So where would Hillary or any other transgender woman fit in competitive action sports?
Ocea is like that sister I never had. I got a call a couple days ago to carpool to Vans for Girls Night. Girls skate free. We picked up two other Black girl skaters on the way, Tierra and
Anastaysia Broccoli (I prefer the nickname). Blew my mind. There really are a handful of us now. Back when I was skateboarding I couldn’t find another girl skater in my neighborhood. Now skateboarding has become so popular that more girls are picking it up, even Black girls. And I’m not talking about rolling around on the sidewalk just to have an excuse to hang with some dudes. These chicks are in bowls, grinding ledges, and hitting stairs. I think Tierra’s family feels a little more comfortable having met two of us, knowing that Tierra’s not alone. Vans was fun, and I’m not an avid skate anymore. I pulled a few rock to tailbone’s. Needless to say, still sore.
Lisa (who I knew previously and happened to be at Vans night before) finally had a day off yesterday and wanted to film. Y I met up with her, Ocea, and Tierra. Lisa also invited Monique and Ashley (who came a bit later). I left the board at home and pulled out the whip. We rolled over to the Norwalk ditch. It happens that the hobo lavatory was aptly positioned under the bridge. And it was just our luck that the bank we wanted to hit was just downwind of the tunnel. Lovely, that piss stench. We tinkered with the little bank before being joined by Milo, the cutest Corgi alive.
Then we roamed north where Tierra ollied over a little gap, landing straight into a recess scattered with glass and rock. This ballsy girl just rolled right through the mess. Ocea nearly had a heart attack. When Lisa asked Tierra what tricks she had down, Tierra rolled down a lit of 50-50 variations. We’ve been calling her Fitty Fitty since. When that was said and done we rolled south to the next bridge, where Ashley joined us. There was a textbook bank-to-wallride underneath. Ashley was gunning it.
Tierra noticed a small rail at the top of the bank and said “why not?”
Her allergies stirred up after a little while. Hence the Ocea quote: “We need to get you some drugs.” Tierra’s board rolled into that nasty sewage bed at one point. Ashley happily jumped across in a single bound to retrieve the board.
Never said she cleared it.
We headed back to the little bank for another mini session. Ashley’s got a thing for tailslides. Tierra offered to wax her tail. Another Tierra quotable. We finished up, snacked at the Target, and regrouped at Bellflower skatepark. Place was riddled with folk. Took over the bowl for a few and left. Guys don’t know what to think when a slew of girls mobs a spot. You can tell by the confused look on their faces.
Great girls, great day.