Dear Snowboarding: Stop Using the Word Gay as an Insult

Last week, pro skier Gus Kentworthy came out to ESPN. Overall, the response has been great and supportive, Kenworthy told the Wall Street Journal. “I’ve had a ton of people reach out to me, which has been amazing. I’ve had other athletes in my sport, Bobby Brown, Josh Christensen, Tom Wallisch, I’ve had snowboarders..” Unfortunately, one snowboarder, who’s legendary status raises his voice louder than the others, took to twitter with a poorly-worded joke.

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This tweet has brought a firestorm of unwanted attention upon Terje, who just doesn’t seem to understand what the big deal is. “Every time someone shockingly “admits” to be gay he pins under “abnormality.” For me sexuality is insignificant,” Terje went on to tweet after receiving blowback on social media.

Terje is right in some ways – your sexuality doesn’t and shouldn’t matter when it comes to your skiing or snowboarding. But after the triple corking is done, Gus and every other athlete lives in the real world. In the real world homophobia still runs rampant, words and thoughtless jokes hurt, which is one of the things Gus opens up about in the article. Since Terje probably didn’t even read it, here’s the actual excerpt that explains it:

Kenworthy has watched carefully these past few years as the world around him has grown more accepting. Gay marriage is legal now, attitudes are changing. He was excited this spring when Caitlyn Jenner came out. He believes that people are more aware.

“But then at the same time,” he says, “people are literally oblivious.”

For him, there have existed day-to-day reminders. Take, for instance, the former sponsor who made a crude anti-gay remark about why Kenworthy was once late to a competition. Take his physical therapist, who once told Kenworthy that he couldn’t even imagine talking to a gay guy all night. (“I thought, ‘You’ve talked to a gay guy for two hours a day, four days a week for seven months.’ “)

Take the constant drumbeat of living in a culture that uses the words “gay” and “fag” as commonly as “stoked.” A daily check of social media for Kenworthy means encountering posts written by friends or peers who, without knowing it, reveal what they think about his sexuality. Today, it might be a Facebook rant or an Instagram post from a pro snowboarder who’s annoyed that “skier fags” have infiltrated another contest or complaining that a shoddy halfpipe is “gay.” Tomorrow, it might be a tweet written by an athlete he admires who is “sickened” by same-sex marriage.

“There’s a lot of testosterone in our sport, and those derogatory words get thrown around like crazy,” says Canadian freeskier Justin Dorey. “A lot of people don’t think twice about it because those words don’t mean anything to them.”

In 2015, where news travels at the speed of the Internet and you’re constantly inundated with new information, its easy for the non-affected to shrug and say, big fucking deal. But this is a big fucking deal, and it’s time for snowboarding and all action sports to remove homophobic slurs from our lexicon entirely. Terje made himself look like a moron and deserves every bit of media scrutiny he did and will receive. Todd Richards, who had a front row seat for the shitshow thanks to a seemingly out of nowhere mention in the tweet, said the whole situation is a case of stupidity.

“100 percent of comedy is timing, and if you’re going to diss someone in English, at least use spell check. Utmost respect for Gus’s courage in a close-minded world.”


128 replies
    • dude
      dude says:


    • Robert Newsome Jr.
      Robert Newsome Jr. says:

      I think it’s so odd how Yobeat/Snowboards take this ultra PC stance, the same thing happened when Burtongate came out. People were upset that they sold “weed paraphernalia” and the CEO said a cuss word in her email. Like Snowboarding was ever about not offending people or being controversial…

      • terry
        terry says:

        if you think ‘pls stop saying gay and faggot’ is “ultra-pc” i don’t know what to tell you

        oh wait, I do. snowboarding was not rooted in “offending people” or “being controversial,” it was strongly anti-establishment (I know that’s a lot of syllables but bear with me) due to years of being subjugated by the ski industry, specifically resorts. snowboarding was a grand unifier for a lot of society’s outcasts- now some of those ‘outcasts’ have no problem doing the same exact thing that was done to them but to different groups of people. grow up.

  1. everett bleakney
    everett bleakney says:

    This might be the most important yobeat article to date. Guilty as charged and excellent point.

    • sman
      sman says:

      True that.

      Guilty as charged x2, but smarter now.

      Terje is a solid individual. People make mistakes. This just opens up discussion on the topic and shouldn’t be viewed as a Terje is bad thing. The real question here is can we evolve vs. devolve.

      I alienated one of my good friends/best snowboarder I spend significant time with about 10 years ago. He stayed in the closet and I guarantee he felt uncomfortable every time I used the word “gay” to describe a negative.

      It’s not a PC issue, it’s a insult plain and simple. Being a douche bag around my friend is big regret in my life, hopefully others can avoid that regret by exposing the issue for what it is.

      Good job Yo Beat for calling it what it is.

  2. Hummus
    Hummus says:

    Todd’s name wasnt mentioned out of nowhere. They had a beef since pre- Nagano when he Todd decided to go to the Olympics and Terje boycotted.

    So the “joke” is that Todd’s came out beening gay 20 years ago – when he decided to to go the olympics. Get it? …hardly anybody did. That’s why it’s a pretty shit joke.

    • Candygram
      Candygram says:

      So let me see if I get this: Terje is using the word “gay” to describe, The Olympics, TR’s participation in the 98 Olympics, and skiing…and how is this not a negative connotation of the word “gay” again ?

  3. W.W.D.
    W.W.D. says:

    Just watch the Southpark episode where they change Websters Dictionary definition of the word “fag.”

  4. Comment
    Comment says:

    Terje has been running his mouth for years and until now nobody said anything because he’s a “legend”. Just because he’s a legend doesn’t mean he’s not an asshole.

    • Thunder Cunt
      Thunder Cunt says:

      well, english isnt his first language. PC principal says you shouldnt make fun of others for that!

      • Hemingway
        Hemingway says:

        Your use of that reference is both wrong and idiotic. Goo back to shouting, “WHAT?!”, “YEAH!” and “OKAY!” with your annoying ass fraternity brothers, instead.

  5. Dad jokes
    Dad jokes says:

    You at a restaurant with grandpa. He throws out another joke about jews/gays/women/afro-ams that was funny in the 50’s and he cracks up about his own joke so loud you hardly can hear the punchline.
    You smirk to be a little bit polite but also so you hope he gets you don’t think its funny.
    Grandpa thinks you don’t get the joke and screams it out twice as loud and people in the restaurant start turning their heads.
    You try to hush him up: – I got the joke the first time but we moved on, it’s not funny anymore!
    Grandpa gets grumpy and mumbles: – The kids today don’t understand anything. All so darn politically correct.
    Grandpa goes back to the other 80 year olds and tells the joke, half of them thinks it funny and pats him on the shoulder. Grandpa he feels he’s got IT again.

  6. nuance
    nuance says:

    Before everyone starts accusing Terje of homophobia, keep in mind that he’s been in a relationship for 10+ years with a woman (Mia Hundvin), who used to be married to a girl. It was a thoughtless tweet. But lets not willfully misunderstand his post just because it feels good to be outraged.

      • nuance
        nuance says:

        Do you think Terje Haakonsen, who is dating a gay person, hates gay people?

        Or is it possible that he uses ‘gay’ as an insult like a fifth grader would?

        The latter is stupid, but it’s way milder than the former.

        • Clayton
          Clayton says:

          for someone titling their post “nuance,” you really don’t have much nuance in your views of sexuality/romance…

        • Clayton
          Clayton says:

          A) Terje’s partner is probably not gay if they are dating Terje now. I’m not going to speculate on their sexual preferences but gay typically denotes attraction only to one sex/gender, the one which you inhabit as well.

          B) Homophobia does not have to involve hatred of gays/queers. It can involve aversion, implicit or latent feelings of superiority, etc.

          C) Even if it is ‘nuanced’ to distinguish between two different modes of homophobia, do you really think you’re in a position to make the call that Terje’s comments are mild?

    STEVE THE CAT says:

    As long as no snowboarders come out as gay, itll be okay, thats why they ski so its easier to spread their legs.

  8. John
    John says:

    I think he is saying he doesn’t want to hear nonsense about whether u wanna fuck dudes or girls. It is like saying on the Internet I am asexual but like to beat off to dragon movies.. Good for you, Nobody gives a fuck who you like to fuck

  9. B
    B says:

    Do we all have to take this so seriously?
    So Terje made a joke he probably shouldn’t have at that exact moment, but there is no reason for everybody to there panties in a bunch.
    He was trying to diss skiers in general, but timed it very wrong.
    Whatever happened to the feud between skiers and snowboarders? When did we all decide to just get along, instead of keeping the friendly, fun and healthy rivalry going?
    Well it doesn’t really matter, but i for one like it.
    Spray skiers, all day everyday.
    And since everybody assumed this is because Terje has an issue with one particular skiers sexual orientation,… he doesn’t, he just made a bad joke.

    • Clayton
      Clayton says:

      Yeah make fun of skiers for skiing, but don’t do it by implicitly stating that queer persons and gay people are beneath you.

      This isn’t fucking hard.

  10. ko$a
    ko$a says:

    Who cares? It was a joke. People taking twitter and social media in general too serious is the real problem here.

    • damnB
      damnB says:

      i am a redhead… wait does this mean i can get offended now?! cause that was all really hard for me when i was in jr.high school, you know when i was a bitch

  11. meaning of words
    meaning of words says:

    Now a days people shouldn’t get so hurt by those words because they are used so much their true meaning has been lost. Therefore, people aren’t trying to hurt anybody and if you do take offense then just remember it isn’t personal.

  12. Clayton
    Clayton says:

    It’s pretty easy to tell other people not to take their identities seriously when you aren’t the butt of the fucking joke.

    Like this is why I don’t spend time with snowboarders, there are too many unreflective jocks in core clothing who don’t want to actually think about what they say or what they do.

    • damnB
      damnB says:

      Clayton… i was really enjoying all your comments thus far. and then you ruined everything you worked so hard for by demeaning the snowboarding way in the exact way your advocating against. come on man

      • Clayton
        Clayton says:

        Cry about it. Calling most snowboarders edgy-appealing jocks isn’t a stretch, and you fucking know it.

        Don’t conflate my demeaning of a completely social, apolitical identity (snowboarder) to a highly contested, highly political/politicized identity which is heavily marginalized in ways which you will never experience.

        Don’t ask me to be polite or respectable when even in comments supposedly supporting queers on this thread the word ‘fag’ is used as a derogatory title. FUCK RIGHT OFF

    • this guy^^^^
      this guy^^^^ says:

      i enjoy the company of most everybody doesnt matter if your gay or straight….i just dont like people that have tissue paper fucking skin and cant take a joke or a serious comment for that matter. You gotta be able to brush shit off and move on with your life, if you cant learn to do that your gonna have a shitty fucking life.

      • Clayton
        Clayton says:

        Again, it’s pretty fucking easy to do that when you aren’t constantly being reminded that everyone around you still holds homophobic views in one register or another.

        Telling people who are the implicit butt of all-too-many jokes to “take a joke” is to tell them to let other people make their identity not only into a joke, but into a marginalized category, you fuck.

  13. Bad Joke
    Bad Joke says:

    This drama will end when the next weekly drama all be up.

    Although it’s a bad joke, and Terje is definitely not snowboarding’s greatest persona, I don’t see him as homophobic. He is, for instance, good friend with legendary photographer Chris Brunkhart, who’s openly gay. It was just a very clumsy attempt to make fun of a situation that’s still sensible and shouldn’t be in 2015. Big ups to TR for making a strong and thoughtful statement.

  14. hmmm...
    hmmm... says:

    thanks for posting this yobeat. yes a bad joke but it was said. i wonder if transworld or snowboarder will post the tweet and comment??? burton’s $$$$$ say hell no.

    great work.

  15. BK Sports
    BK Sports says:

    Hype is ridiculous. Because it’s these two characters twittering fire at each other, bunch of people take notice. Good to know nobody pays attention to regular old snowboard dudes. I’ve been questioning the use of the word “gay” by homophobes since elementary school. Fuck the media hype over ignorant comments on Twitter. Reminds me of bullshit religious types who talk a lot, but end up being hypocrites. YoBeat and the entire industry have been gay bashing for years…..either blatantly or inadvertently and now all of a sudden, everyone is anti-use-gay-as-a-derogatory-term. But if Terje and Todd are talking, everyone pays attention? Hype over substance is typical in this shallow world. Fucking hypocrites everywhere, me included. Lighten up, none of this shit is really that important, not as important as Alyssa’s article and Gus’ open admission. All this shit is fluff.

  16. dumb
    dumb says:

    I came here to watch snowboard videos, not be lectured about something people should already now and have advertisements shoved in my face. Bring back catfish chronicles
    …and oh yeah, stop trying to become Thrasher, cause u copy almost everything they do

  17. Dude man Bro
    Dude man Bro says:

    Haha old crusty snowboarders getting all flustered because they are being asked to enter the 21 century and join the rest of us.

    Just so you all know there is a very strong correlation between homophobia and penile response to gay porn.

    There is also a very strong coloration between being gay and penile response to gay porn.

    All you salty fucks just did yourself a favor and came out. Congrats on your new life!

  18. upstatemike.
    upstatemike. says:

    I’m just confused as to how it’s even a discussion anymore. Who cares? If we all literally don’t care, then there will be no “coming out of the closest” and it will be normal. People need to worry about more important shit like, i dunno, 9/11 truth nd the fact that there are actually people that think Donald Trump should be president and is a rational human being.

  19. something
    something says:

    people need to stop being such fucking sensitive little pussies about everything around you.
    open your eyes and stop using every stupid little thing as an excuse to bitch.
    as upstatemike said, THERE IS MORE IMPORTANT SHIT out there to focus your aggression on.
    fuck you all.

  20. Truth
    Truth says:

    There are plenty of things in the snowboarding community to be made fun of that don’t involve people’s personal lives. IE: people who still ride clickers, Shawn White in general, the Too Hard crew, Torstein’s new DC graphics… just to name a few.

  21. terry
    terry says:

    hmm yes, I was desperately looking for more examples of straight white guys telling the world how inconsequential and unimportant it is to come out of the closet in america/the action sports industry. shoutout to the dregs of yobeat commenters for providing.

    mike, you’re better than that.

    • upstatemike.
      upstatemike. says:

      Sorry… wasn’t saying “who cares” about him coming out…was assuming someone may take what i said the wrong way. What i meant was, who cares if people are gay/straight/bi…imagine if it wasn’t even a thing and no one needed to “come out of the closet”. Hopefully it can be that way someday, where everyone is just a person and we don’t have to be shocked when someone comes out. If everyone starts talking and caring about bigger issues that face humanity than what someone else wants to put their penis in, then maybe we’ll be on the right path.

      Regardless, props to Gus. I’m just hoping the next generation won’t even need to think about it.

      • terry
        terry says:

        again; this sounds like a great thing to say when you’re not on the shit end of the stick. ‘imagine if nobody needed to come out of the closet’ is a variation of when white people say inane shit like ‘oh i don’t see people in color ^_^’

        specifically it is a refusal to acknowledge the problems and issues one is still facing in 2015 by being part of a marginalized group. it’s easy to reduce the importance of someone coming out when you’ve never dealt with the struggle of potentially being ostracized by your family, friends, community, and beyond just.for.being.yourself. coming out is still “a thing” primarily because of reactions like the ones found in this very comment feed.

        i know a lot of people are thinking ‘hmm, ski man is gay. who cares. get this off my feed. also skiing is gay lol’ if you don’t care that’s fine, close the tab and keep it moving. there are a lot of people out there, gay, straight, skier, snowboarder, whatever, who DO care about issues like this. slowly our society is starting to realize that treating subsets of our communities like dogshit Isn’t That Cool™ and they’re committing to do their part and change their ingrained habits. it’d be nice if some of y’all would spend two goddamn seconds to think critically on what we’re talking about and do the same.

        • upstatemike.
          upstatemike. says:

          Obviously not understanding what I’m trying to say. Not the same as someone saying they don’t see color, at all. Altho hey, maybe from living in a major city and working in an profession where most dudes are gay, I don’t even “see gay”. However, I’m not going to debate it this shit on yobeat. Let’s leave this to Facebook so the redneck kid from high school can comment a picture of eagle with a gun it’s mouth. MURICA.

          • terry
            terry says:

            i realize a lot of ‘discussion’ is lost in the ether of conversing online and i’m sure that you and i are probably a hell of a lot closer on the issue than these comments may make us out to be. we have the same goals, just notably different ideas on how we achieve em. you a good dude.

            the rest of yall bigoted bastards can fuck right off tho

  22. terry
    terry says:

    i finally get it. the way i feel right now must be similar to how my friends on facebook feel when i reply to their status updates about football and say ‘NOBODY CARES ABOUT UR STUPID SPORT BOO HOO UR PREFERRED SQUAD OF MUSCLEMEN DIDNT WIN A GAME THAT MEANS NOTHING A BLOO BLOO GET OVER IT U BABY’

    oh wait i dont do that because im not a complete shitheel. nevermind.

    • Please
      Please says:

      Terry shut the fuck up, you or anyone else hear who thinks they are an activist and wants to stick up for rights needs to realize how insignificant you are, no matter how much shit you spew nothing is going to change, maybe in 100 years it will but what you have to say will make no fucking difference

      • terry
        terry says:

        gotta be a cold world out there when you see yourself as insignificant as that. ive seen drastic change in myself, others, and society as a whole during my life and that gives me hope that it aint done yet. sorry you havent had the same experience.

  23. upstatemike.
    upstatemike. says:

    does anyone ever stop to think how much better of a world this would be if Twitter was never invented?

  24. asparagus piss
    asparagus piss says:

    Great post.

    Would be cool if some of these chuds took it to heart.

    Instead they’ll just piss and moan about how the world is “too PC” these days because they are jocks at heart and hate the idea of not picking on someone because they are different.

  25. Yo Mamma
    Yo Mamma says:

    All these comments coming from assholes who were calling each other gay last week! Since I can remember Yobeat is famous for making fun of people for anything possible! Talk about double standard! Ya’ll need to grow some balls and figure out where you really stand! Either hate everybody equally or stop hating all together! That simple!

  26. Mr__Gus
    Mr__Gus says:

    Lots of dumb shits all over failed to get the meaning of a legendary french poetry loving fotballers ..Seagulls following the trawler statement, ..showing how fricking dumb folk can be, I got it, I have a shitload of brain damage, I also got what Terje was trying to say in 140 characters or less, gay friends wouldn’t give a toss either, half the problems emanate from the USA’s own “war from within” of which anything other than hetero is still a problem, your problem to mull over, we are much easier with regard to sexuality in most of Europe as it stands currently.

    & this has since needlessly blown up with reporters scurrying to keep it alight as a subject, poor poor journalism, especially from yo-beat who usually rip the living shit out of all & sundry, ..fricking turncoats ala daily mail!

    Think there was some asswipe pushing & pushing for Terje to apologise in Trans world snowboarder ….hell lets all complain about the use of the word “trans” now shall we!?

    For the love of (insert chosen deity here) grow a pair & move on…

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