This profile is part of Queerty’s Out For Good series, recognizing those who came out to make a difference. The series will run throughout October in honor of National Coming Out Day on October 11.
Name: Zack Leader, 19
Bio: British lad Leader has already made a name for himself in the world of racing. Only two years into his pro career, he ranks as the #2 Gravity Biker in the UK, and #9 in the world. For the uninitiated, gravity biking is a form of biking where riders race downhill on a tarmac at high speed on a specially designed, homemade bike without pedals–gravity is the only source of power. Leader has already racked up numerous sponsorships and earned an international following.
Coming Out: Leader came out on New Year’s Eve 2017 in a heartfelt Instagram post that pictured him proudly displaying a Pride flag. “To some of you this won’t be news or anything new,” he wrote in the post, “but to a lot of you, I imagine it won’t have even crossed your mind. Some of you may have thought about it I imagine. What I’m trying to do is come out and say I’m gay.”
No other British gravity biker had ever come out before, and Leader expressed his own anxiety that opening up about his sexuality could cost him his professional career.
View this post on Instagram
So 2018 is finally here and for about 6 months now, this is how I wanted to start the new year. A fresh start. No more hiding, no more lies, no more fannying around! To some of you this won’t be news or anything new but to a lot of you, I imagine it won’t have even crossed your mind. Some of you may have thought about it I imagine ? What I’m trying to do is come out and say I’m gay ???? I’ve spent a lot more time in paddocks in recent seasons but this issue has never come up, I’ve never known if the paddocks would accept a gay rider. I guess I’ll find out soon! ? I’ve always worried that people would look at me differently and so wouldn’t accept me into paddocks. I’ve always worried this would hinder me from getting sponsors and maybe even signed by teams in the future; that team managers wouldn’t want the hassle and so wouldn’t bother, regardless of how good I may be. Obviously I’ll find all this out in good time but I really hope everyone both in general life and racing life accepts me for who I am. This is a purely personal decision to come out but maybe if there are other LGBT racers in British paddocks then it may help them to find themselves and consider coming out too, or find the confidence to talk about it. I’m always happy to talk to anybody about it ? Maybe one day we may see more racers happy and confident to come out as a member of the LGBT community! ? I’m telling you all now though, I’m a man on a mission. I’m going to be the first openly gay BGBC champion and then one day I’m going to Britain’s one of Britain’s first openly gay national motorcycle champions and the ultimate goal is to be THE FIRST EVER OPENLY GAY BRITISH SUPERBIKE CHAMPION. And mark my words, I’ll get there if it’s the last thing I do! I’m going to be an ambassador in racing for the LGBT community too which I’m going to be incredibly proud to do ? Feel free to message about anything guys but I hope you all accept me and continue to show me the love! ?? I don’t currently have that special guy in my life to share everything with and to share my journey to glory with at the moment but I’m working on it ? Happy new year everyone! #gay #gayteen #lgbt #gayracer #comingout
Making a Difference: Zack Leader would not be deterred. “This is a purely personal decision to come out,” he wrote in his post. “But maybe if there are other LGBT racers in British paddocks then it may help them to find themselves and consider coming out too, or find the confidence to talk about it…I’m going to be an ambassador in racing for the LGBT community too which I’m going to be incredibly proud to do. Feel free to message about anything guys but I hope you all accept me and continue to show me the love!”
View this post on Instagram
Loving my new @151s.worn.by.winners base layers! Can’t wait to use them for racing this year, worked a treat at football last night ? #happy #love #life #smile #selfie #baselayer #skins #151s #racer #racing #biker #biking #gbiker #gravitybiker #gravitybike #gravitybiking #bike #race #athlete #lgbt #gay #teen #gayteen #uk #lincs #gayuk #19 #filter #edit
Words of Wisdom, as told to Queerty:
Coming out can be such an incredible moment for someone. It allows someone to be more them than they’ve ever been and can bring so many more positive vibes and people into someone’s life. If a high profile individual comes out then it can have such a huge positive impact on people’s lives. Those who grew up in the 80’s will see people coming out now and should feel proud that all those marches and campaigns was all worthwhile and has made this world and much happier place to be LGBT+. Young people will see high profile individuals coming out today and will be able to relate to them and find them inspirational. I think it’s so important for young LGBT people now to have a role model. I can have such a huge impact on their lives.
I came out purely for personal reasons. I was sick of pretending to be something I’m not and living this lie and almost having to switch personalities in certain places and situations. I posted my coming out on Facebook to let my friends that I hadn’t already told know. I never expected it to get the amount of attention that it did. I’m just a normal person who races gravity bikes because it’s what I love doing. I’m really just a normal lad who supports Spurs and listens to The Chainsmokers. But since it gained media coverage, I’ve had people telling I’m an inspiration and a role model which for me is just incredible. If I can be a role model to at least one person and have a positive impact on their life, then for me that’s a huge achievement.