Skateboarding is not an industry that's known to have the healthiest relationship with sexuality and queerness, or the cleanest history. Until recently, it was the only major sport in which not a single professional was out of the closet. It is no shock therefore that a queer skater, launching a LGBTQ skate apparel brand, would choose to remain anonymous.
Lockwood51 is a clothing brand from Los Angeles that makes unapologetically queer-friendly clothing for skaters, created by a mysterious unnamed designer. From its Protect Trans Kids tshirt, to its Support Queer Youth baseball caps, this brand has a clear voice that says 'yes we skate, yes we're queer. Deal with it.'
“I feel like I wasted a big part of my life suffering from some sort of shame," the designer told Huck Magazine in a recent interview.“I never want anyone to go through that shit. It became my mission to tackle homophobia."
Skateboarding's long and turbulent history with the LGBTQ community is a troubling one. Past icon Jay Adams, know as the 'spark that ignited the sport' was not only know to express outright homophobia, but was also linked to a hate crime against gay man, serving time in prison for the incident.
Modern day skateboarding, while much more widely accepting of gay culture, is still loaded with homophobic rheotric in its cultural slang, with the world gay used as a insult and 'faggot' still thrown around parks with little thought or understanding. Through it's crass and shocking designs that reclaim these words and put them against proudly queer artwork, Lockwood is challenging skating attitudes towards gayness head on and forcing them to converse about ,or at the very least consider, their own attitudes.
“Right now as queers, we need to be more inclusive and accepting of those who are a part of our community," the designer says. “Our bigger battle lies with fighting the ignorant and hateful people that stand against us."
With pro skater (and skate icon) Brian Anderson's coming out last September, the narrative around queerness is opening up in the skate world. They shouldn't give themselves a pat on the back just yet however, the vague acceptance of Anderson's sexuality does not mend the years of wounds in the culture's attitudes and actions against the LGBTQ community over the last few decades.
The power of protest in fashion is a huge, simply through wearing an item of clothing you are you are forcing people to participate. Lockwood51 is using this power perfectly.
Lockwood51's new "Proud" tank honors "heroes that have broken down barriers and crashed through societal walls over the past 100 years." In keeping the mission of those pictured, 20 percent of all profits will be donated directly to the Trevor Project, which provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ people ages 13 to 24.