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Inclusive indoor skateboard park in Kansas City opens safe space for LGBTQ+ skaters

Indoor skatepark in Kansas City offers safe space for underrepresented skaters
Posted at 5:51 AM, Feb 28, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-28 18:27:44-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In Kansas City, a unique skate park offers a safe space for LGBTQ+ skateboarders, despite its image as an alternative sport for rebels.

Nestled in the Waldo neighborhood, Goofball Sk8boards aims to break down barriers and create a welcoming environment for skaters who often feel underrepresented in the sport. Harper and Joan Rose have been boarding for years. Over the course of that time, they saw a need for change in sports.

“When we were coming up with this idea, we were pretty aware that trans kids in local sports were being pushed out and not able to participate in school sports the way they might want to," Joan Rose said. "We know that activity is good for everyone.”

They wanted to take their love of skateboarding to new heights, create a space where everyone is welcomed no matter your skin color, background or gender.

"We wanted this to be an inclusive, open space, but we also really wanted to consciously make a space for those kids that might not be finding that space in school," Joan Rose said.

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Harper Rose shared that it's a place where anyone can express themselves however they'd like.

"To me, it's about finding that space where you can carve out a little niche for yourself, where it's not just guys on boards doing crazy flip tricks," Harper Rose added.

Goofball Sk8boards is not just a place to skate; it's also a platform for community engagement and support. At the age of 14, Nico Heny recently found his passion in skateboarding. This space has given many like him a place to feel understood, but above all, included.

"I started coming here and it was just so cool because the people here are amazing and the space that they created is just super fun but also you can be yourself here and it's just really cool," Heny said.

The indoor skate park has given him a family outside of his own.

“It's super cool to have other queer adults to talk to about your problems, because obviously I love my parents, but they're cis-het, so they don't really get it, but Harper and Joan and everyone else, they do understand," Heny said. "I can talk to them about my problems and they can be like, 'Yeah, I went through something similar,'" Heny said.

The indoor skate park will soon hit its one year anniversary. For Harper and Joan Rose it's been a year of community and wins.

"Whenever I see people skating here and enjoying themselves, and particularly the queer community, I feel like there's a future for us," Joan Rose said. "A lot of times it's really hard to feel hope for the future."