US: As a Lesbian Figure Skater, the Locker Room Was My Closet

Tillie Walden is a cartoonist and illustrator from Austin, TX. She is the creator of the newly released graphic memoir Spinning and the Eisner-nominated webcomic On a Sunbeam.

When a place of solace becomes a cage, in words and images.

The locker room was our sanctuary. It was the one place we were free from judges, free from the audience, and free from that cold air. Every time a girl or a parent came in, a gust of that frigid rink air blew in with them, and we’d all scream, “Shut the door!” We all felt it, collectively. Don’t let that in. Not here. Not in our locker room. 

I was a competitive figure skater my whole life. I know the sport and its intricacies like the back of my hand. And so many of my memories of that life aren’t even of skating. They’re of the moments around the performances — the long, torturous minutes spent watching competitors, the stream of skaters running through the back hallways of the cavernous rinks, and the hours upon hours we spent in those half-warm, windowless locker rooms. Read more via them.