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Stay on board: The Leo Baker Story review – sad story of a trans athlete

August 12, 2022

The Netflix documentary film Stay on Board: The Leo Baker Story was released on August 11, 2022.

Netflix has released the documentary film Stay on Board: The Leo Baker Story where we follow skating icon Leo Baker, also known as Lacey Baker, as they try to make their mark in the gendered world of sports professionals. Trying to influence and build a more inclusive skating culture, Baker does things that seem impossible and unimaginable, like having a shared life, having to be two people for their sanity and their careers.

The film is directed by executive producers Drew Barrymore, Alex Schmider (Director of Transgender Representation at GLAAD), Ember Truesdell, Marisa Clifford and Thomas Benski. Lasting one hour and twelve minutes, this film gives viewers a candid insight into Baker’s life, leading up to the 2020 Olympics.

The stakes are high in his life with the pressure of having this incredible experience and the chance to go to the Olympics. The struggle is not the kick-flips, the constant travels, but trying to find their place in a gendered sports world. In exclusive footage, we see Leo’s raw and honest emotions as he struggles with how he sees himself and how the world sees him.

Getting skateboarding into the Olympics for the first time in 2020 was a huge achievement and a historic event for the sport. Something that people can only dream of, so who would want to miss the opportunity and the chance to represent their country and win gold? Baker was a dominant force in women’s skateboarding, a legend.

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Baker admits he can’t look at pictures of themselves between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, which is so sad to hear, but it was obviously an emotionally upsetting time. Openly admitting that being trans they struggled to fit in and wanted to, this time in their lives was filled with extreme ups and downs. Marketing immediately branded her a pretty girl to sell the skateboarding product, slapping her birth name Lacey Baker all over the place and asking them to wear dresses.

A huge emphasis on being a skater, which was uncomfortable, but that was her career, so at a young age it went with everything. You can see this had a huge mental and physical impact on Leo, and at twenty-seven at the time of filming, he’s still finding his feet.

There are images of Baker skating as a child, and modern clips walking through his house and seeing all the old t-shirts his mother saved from all of her competitions. He’s felt financial pressure to win more competitions – I feel like he’s had a lot of pressure throughout his life, and one of the main ones is being trans, being open to this subject and to still be able to skate.

He also feels the pressure of what it will do to his relationship when he undergoes surgery. In addition to these personal stories, we also have short interviews with professional skaters Neen Williams, Tony Hawk, Vanessa Torres and Alex White, discussing tricks, style, their experience in the sport over the years, as well as the energy and determination that Baker had and still has.

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This whole documentary is a journey of self-discovery for a trans athlete in America, trying to find her place and her balance as sport is gendered, and for trans people, this can be a very difficult area to be self- same. -opening watch, I really hope this helps and inspires others who are going through similar things, and I hope Baker finds the peace and space to be himself and have all he deserves. Baker talks about a queer skating industry, and I’m excited to see how it will progress in the future. I highly recommend watching if you’re a fan of lifestyle documentaries, skateboarding, and/or other sports.

What did you think of the Netflix documentary film Stay on Board: The Leo Baker Story? Comments below.

You can watch this documentary with a Netflix subscription.

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