‘Stay on Board: The Leo Baker Story’ Review: Surviving the Grind

When Leo Baker started skating professionally in the early 2000s, skateboarding was primarily a punk hobby. There were no national trials for his team at the Olympics. Advertisers were just beginning to realize the profit they could make from selling sneakers and T-hi-hi shirts to kids doing kickflips.

Leo was a child prodigy, but as a young skateboarder, he wasn’t openly transgender or non-binary. By mistake, he was perceived as someone who could be a representative child for young women in skateboarding.

Directed by Nicola Marsh and Giovanni Leda, the documentary Stay on Board: The Leo Baker Story uses a mix of archival, observational and interview footage to help Leo manage the stress of gender dysphoria while embellishing It shows how he navigated his career as a successful professional skateboarder. and public misunderstanding.

When the documentary begins, it’s the year leading up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Leo has qualified for the nation’s first women’s team and is conflicted about the decision. I fear my career is over. Supported by his family and friends (many of whom are also queer veterans of his skateboarding scene), Leo eventually chose to live openly as a transgender and dropped out of his Olympic team. increase.

The directors made compact films, but their footage is powerful. Leo is a dynamic and generous subject that filmmakers make accessible through intimate struggles.

It’s a candid look at one’s experience of coming out, and a humanitarian document that demonstrates the courage and resilience of queer people to seek freedom from the categories they’ve been forced into.

Staying Aboard: The Story of Leo Baker
Unrated. Running time: 1 hour 12 minutes. watch on netflix.

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