Editor’s Note: This is the second installment of Spectrum South’s eight-part original Talk Derby to Me series. Roll by each month to meet a new queer Houston Roller Derby skater, coach, or super fan!
By Josh Watkins
The stars and skates were aligned as Laura Pruett and Amie D. Sue rolled full force into their relationship. This dynamic duo, also known to their Houston Roller Derby Valkyries teammates as Captain Slayer Moon (Pruett) and Coach Dexter Moon (Sue), took their courtship beyond the rink in 2011.
What started as small talk at practice one day became more after Slayer broke her skates and needed to borrow a pair. “We were playing in a different league in Texas City,” Slayer explains. “My skates broke and I was like, ‘Does anybody have a 7 1/2 pair of skates lying around?’ and Dexter said, ‘I do!’ So I borrowed her skates, even though I never ended up using them! But that’s how we started talking.”
After multiple leagues and five years together, Slayer and Dexter decided to take their relationship to the next level and were married in October 2016 with some of their best derby friends by their sides. “HRD friends and family accounted for what seemed to be about half of the guest list that evening,” Slayer explains. “My maid of honor was my derby wife and co-captain, Hot Assets. My other co-captain, Kelly Killpowski, was standing on Dexter’s side as well. Our travel team coach, Carl, got ordained so that he could be the one to marry us. So I would say HRD was a super big influence, as they were everywhere from our wedding party, to helping my dad load up decorations after, and of course, leading the late night celebrators to the after-party.”
Like many others, both Slayer and Dexter were inspired to join roller derby after watching the 2009 hit movie, Whip It, which stars fellow lesbian Ellen Page. “I was a part of the Whip It movement that really got everyone interested in it,” Dexter explains. “I saw the movie and wondered if [there was a derby league] around here, and there was! I signed up and fell in love.”
“I actually saw the movie too and thought it looked really cool,” Slayer adds. “When I was a kid, my dad would actually tell me that he thought I’d be good at roller derby. And my step dad, when we watched the movie, said he was gonna sign my mom up to play. And I’m like, she’s not doing it if I’m not doing it! So I was actually the one that ended up signing up and she didn’t. And I love skating and hitting people at the same time. So the rest is history. I just never stopped!”
The pair credit roller derby with boosting their self-confidence and giving them the space to explore their queerness. Dexter, who went to Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas during the late 90s, recalls how the “small country town” negatively impacted her experience as an out lesbian. But when she found derby, her queer freedoms expanded. “I can be myself,” she says.
Slayer explains that she was in a heterosexual relationship when she began playing derby at 19, but that skating increased her self-awareness and she began to embrace her true queer identity. “I [began to realize my identity] when I started playing! I learned more about myself, like, I’m a little gay,” Slayer laughs. “The self-confidence [that derby provides] is a big part of the coming out process too.”
Both Slayer and Dexter praise the inclusivity of the sport, noting that they feel “surrounded by so much positivity.” The couple also commend Brawler co-captain and out trans woman Arrak-Kiss for the energy she has brought to the league. “I think it’s just being able to be yourself at derby that creates a queer environment,” Dexter says.
“I’ve met my favorite people through derby,” Slayer adds. “The relationships we’ve made here [are priceless]. We’ll carry these relationships with us the rest of our lives.”
The 2018 Houston Roller Derby season kicks off Saturday, February 17 at Revention Music Center. Doors open at 6 p.m. Bouts start at 7 p.m. Tickets and more information available at houstonrollerderby.com. Plus, enter to win two tickets to the February bout by signing up for Spectrum South’s newsletter.