Scotty Wittlake: A Love Letter to the Snowboard Community

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Stefan Götschl

Scotty Wittlake: A Love Letter to the Snowboard Community

Vorneweg: Die Texte auf erscheinen normalerweise in deutscher Sprache. Um Scottys individuelle Worte jedoch frei von Verfälschungen und potenziellen Missverständnissen ungefiltert wiederzugeben, haben wir uns entschieden, den Text im originalen englischen Wortlaut zu veröffentlichen.

The snowboard community’s response to Torment Mag’s Pride Week interviews with Jake Kuzyk, Jill Perkins, Tanner Pendleton, Chad Unger and Kennedi Deck has been overwhelmingly positive. Some people called it the best week in years for the snowboard community, and they might be right. It seems snowboarding is finally ready to open up and also talk about the challenging topics that are going on in this world right now. Scotty Wittlake has never been one to shy away from difficult discussions. He's not a big social media guy, but last Friday he posted a love letter to the snowboard community on Instagram. We’d like to continue this discussion and asked Scotty if it’s alright to publish his letter on our website. He agreed,  so here’s Scotty, honest and genuine as always.

The news from the snowboard community this last week has made me so happy, I don’t have the words to describe it.

Maybe it’s too big and means too much for words to fully convey how it makes me feel.

I’d like to show my gratitude for the courageousness of Tanner, Kennedi, Jill, Chad and Jake. And to Torment Mag for providing a platform for this long overdue conversation to be brought out in the open. I have so much love and respect for you all. As well as for anyone who doesn’t feel that now is the right time to share their experience. Every path is unique.

I hope these stories are an opportunity for the entire industry to acknowledge and celebrate the diversity of sexual orientation and gender identity that have always existed within the snowboard community.

Remember that our lives either positively or negatively effect those around us. We are not spectators in this existence. We are humanity. And we are one in that sense, but the circumstances in which we come into this world and the accompanying privilege is very, very different. Hopefully recognizing this can allow us to let down our guard, rejoice in our differences, and have real love for everyone.

I’ve lost two people in my life because of the fear and hate of homophobia. I was an advocate for the LGBTQA+ community and felt I always stood up for what I believed in. But looking back I’m not proud to admit that I think I mostly only did so when it was comfortable, and without really including my own personal experience in that dialogue. I still said things that make me cringe today. And at times even acted in a manner that was counterproductive to that cause. I wish I would have been more open and vocal. I wish I would have done more.

I can’t pretend to know what it’s like growing up in the snowboard community as a gay person. Fearing people turning against you for opening yourself up to the world. I didn’t grow up having to constantly be careful of what I said or how I acted. I didn’t grow up as a gay person. Honestly, though, I never really felt how I thought a straight person „should“ feel either. The polarity of either gay or straight never quite felt right for me, throughout my life I have always attracted to, and enjoyed intimate times with, beings from all across the spectrum of gender. This is something I really wish I would have been more open about in the past.

But this isn’t about me and how I identify isn’t important, but acknowledging my privilege is. On top of being a white male, I always felt sufficiently heterosexual to be content presenting as that for the majority of my life. That’s a huge privilege.

The uniqueness of us all has always existed in snowboarding, but now instead of it being hidden, it can (and should) be celebrated. It should be celebrated along with the diversity of genders, races, and humans in general that have existed in snowboarding, and that will continue to exist in the future. I hope that these stories will inspire the rest of the snowboard community as much as they have me. And that we are all one humanity, and to love all beings for exactly how they are.

Scotty Wittlake

Die erwähnten Pride-Interviews mit Jake, Kennedi, Chad, Jill und Tanner gibt's auf zu lesen: