Filling your life with something you love is unequivocally the only way to live. Live unashamed of who you are and what you want, take on anything (and anyone) who might stand in your way. I’ve thought about this a lot lately, and speaking to pro skater Lucy Adams recently only reinforced the idea. Taking skateboarding to new heights for the last 20 years, she’s taken her passion from a hobby at her local park across the world, forged her own unique path, and of course married her wife Emily. Commendable to say the least.
Adams is certainly one for pushing herself. A sport that takes practice and patience, skateboarding also takes a good amount of discipline if you want to excel at it. While anyone living in Brighton & Hove will recognise that distinctive sound of wheels on concrete, where is it that leaders in the sport go to hone their skills? “In the street there might be rough ground, maybe a crack in the edge you want to grind – it’s just harder. If I’m feeling like I want a challenge then definitely street. But obviously you can’t beat your local skatepark!” Frequenting Brighton Youth Centre (BYC) skatepark, The Level and a quieter spot in Woodingdean, these places have always been somewhat of a safe space for Adams. Her more masculine sense of style sits comfortably in this kind of environment, but the journey she’s been through to be so secure in herself hasn’t been quite as smooth. I wondered if she’s faced negativity for not fitting the mould of a feminine girl when growing up. It can be hard to experiment with your sense of style at a younger age – school days can be challenging for the most self assured of us.
“It was really difficult, even when I got more confident with my style and thought I’m going to wear more of a men’s look, there would just be times at work where I thought I’m so out of place with these people. I would just sit there and think ‘oh my god, why do I look like this and why am I here?’”
A relatable feeling, it goes to show that even influential athletes may not always feel completely at ease. Despite this feeling of detachment, for Adams coming out was fairly expected by her loved ones. She explains that, as many will have experienced, it was over time to different people. Her mother having been in a same sex relationship for a number of years took the surprise out of the revelation. She recalls telling her mother, “that was pretty easy. When I told other people it wasn’t a shock either, so once I started having my first girlfriend she was introduced like that and it was quite easy.”
It’s not always easy to meet people when you live in a small town, let alone when you’re searching for a same sex partner. Similarly, you don’t always expect your younger sibling to inadvertently matchmake you with your future wife. Knowing one another at school, Adams and her wife Emily were a few years apart so their lives ran adjacent for a number of years. “Rosie and Abbie, our sisters, were best friends, and we heard about each other more because of them. Nearly 11 years ago, one Christmas when I was back from Manchester, we all went to the theatre to see a musical. My sister made sure I came, and Emily came as well, and we re-hit it off.” They’d grown up a lot in this time, and what was once kids playing out together turned into something incredibly special.
Together for a few years, the pair married just a couple of months after equal marriage was legalised in 2014. She remembers it clearly, her voice becoming nostalgic. Adams wore a suit, while Emily had her pick of three dresses. She tells me: “We married at Horsham registry office, and were their first gay couple to marry. They were all really nervous, probably as nervous as we were! Then fortunately my wife’s parents own a really nice pub in Horsham, a bit out of town with a big garden, which we put some big marquees up in, and my dad’s a butcher so we did a big hog roast too. It was pretty packed, and definitely a day to remember.”