“I thought I’d have to keep this a secret until the day I died,” said Kayleigh. She’s a transgender woman.
Religious beliefs were inked into her childhood, as she grappled with her own identity. Skateboarding felt like something different.
“I loved everything about it,” she said. “The smell of the wheels, the sounds of the ramp.”
But that was years ago, stopped short by injury and discrimination.
Kayleigh came out as transgender online in the early 2010s. She chose to tell a skateboarding forum, but the response was icy.
“They didn’t believe me,” she said.
In the years since, she’s faced discrimination on the internet and face-to-face.
“All the comments online are just absolutely brutal,” she said. “Being discriminated against on the internet is one thing. Day to day, on the street, I’ve been attacked, I’ve been spat on.”
Though there’s been a push in recent years for transgender acceptance and representation online, there’s still a long way to go.
For Kayleigh, negative experiences with the skate community have tainted fond memories.
She said: “I want people to know and I want people who are like me to know that they shouldn’t be listening to people when they say it’s wrong, because it’s not wrong.”