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Skate the Rainbow

Queer skaters take to the streets during Unity Skateboarding’s all-inclusive meet-ups.

SLIDESHOW

Cher Straub

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Steve Shakes

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Nadair Asghari

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Sarah Francois and Ali

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Eric Faulkner

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Khamani Calvin

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Gabriel Ramirez (left) and Jeff Cheung

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Katie Doherty

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Jose Manuel Moctezuma

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See all the Affinities photo shoots here.

“I didn’t want anything to do with skateboarding. I felt really unwelcome,” says Cher Straub, who, despite being a young skateboard phenom—she was ranked No. 1 in the California Amateur Skateboard League when she was 12—dropped out of the sport for almost a decade.

Straub is trans and felt there wasn’t a place for her in skate culture until she found Unity Skateboarding, a one-and-a-half-year-old skate company that was launched by her friend Jeff Cheung to support and bring together queer skateboarders. “It’s not an official team,” Straub says. “It’s more to meet and have queer people to skate with.” To that end, Unity hosts monthly queer skate meet-ups in the Bay Area and has popped up in L.A., New York, and Europe and Japan.

On a recent Sunday afternoon, the crew rolled about 50 deep, taking over a popular skate spot in front of the San Francisco Ferry Building. “Skateboarding is already an act of loudly taking up public space,” says Gabriel Ramirez, Cheung’s boyfriend, who helps run Unity. “But as a queer and trans person, I think it’s really meaningful. It’s an act of resistance.”

 

Originally published in the July issue of San Francisco

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