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Netflix's 'Stay on Board' documentary highlights the excruciating pressure trans athletes face

Netflix's newest documentary,Stay Aboard: The Story of Leo Bakerbegan streaming today, One thing is very clear. It made life very difficult for transgender athletes.

Leo Baker knew long before he came out as transgender that he was Lacy and not Baker. Neither her name, nor her long blond hair, nor her dress, nor her obsessive emphasis on "woman," matched the person Leo knew himself. Yet his entire career was built behind his brand, Lacey Baker, one of the top "female" skateboarders in the world.

"[When I was a kid] I remember him going to meetings. It was a conversation between adults," Baker recalled in an interview for the documentary. . Lacey Baker.

There is nothing to say on the subject, but Baker's career and financial livelihood were intricately intertwined with an identity that was not his. He knows he's transgender, and he's known for years. By the time directors Nicola Marsh and Giovanni Leda began filming him in 2019, he was getting ready to skateboard at his 2020 Olympics, but he didn't want his friends to and asked his family to call him Leo. However, most of the professional skateboarding world still knew him as Lacy, who was named "Lacey Baker" on numerous international skateboarding tours, including his Super Crown in the 2016 Street League. had won the contest. his career.

Stay on Board: The Leo Baker Story.
Photo courtesy of Netflix

It hurts to see Baker living in this marginal space. It's clearly tearing him apart. "I feel like I live a split life," he confesses at one point. He doesn't correct his mother when she calls him Lacey. (She stresses that she's doing her best to remember his name and pronouns, and by the end of the film, she makes no mistakes. Male, while he was scheduled for neck surgery over the phone, he told an administrative assistant that "Lacey Baker" would be a better name for him. It's heartbreaking to see Baker sacrifice his comfort, happiness, and personality just because he doesn't want to, and of course, he's finally convinced he's transgender as a professional skateboarder. Because I know what's going to happen when I come out and what's going to happen. If he were someone else, I'd say, 'I'd move and move to a new city and live happily ever after.' , is a space where I have to have a conversation with the world about it.And I don't want

Baker to post on Instagram to tell people to use they/them or him/his pronouns The snarky transphobia in the comments is perhaps predictable when asking to do so, but it doesn't hurt too much for him to see. Over the past five years, conservatives have become overly obsessed with trans athletes, with150 anti-trans bills introduced in state legislatures this year alone. Some people in life encourage him to stay in the closet for just one more year... The Olympics, right?But, as Baker puts it bluntly, "Wait another year and Leo might be gone."

Ultimately, he decided to step down from the U.S. Women's Olympic Skateboard Team. I feel like I gave it time,” he says. It's rewarding to see him so happy, but finally able to break free in the world of skateboarding, with all the injustices of it. I made what I called "the toughest decision of my career." But all he did was be himself. It's the rest of the world that made it difficult.