Last month, a Maritime hockey player did something that not many other athletes have done before, he has come out as gay while actively competing in elite sports. Yanic Duplessis, who currently plays in the QMJHL for the Drummondville Voltigeurs says his news should not be a big deal, however it somehow is. He initially discussed his coming out publicly in a podcast with the FDS Podcast Network, and it has been covered in many news stories since.
Not many athletes come out as gay, lesbian, transgender, etc. while competing in elite sports, instead choosing to come out after retirement so as to avoid the attention and discrimination that comes with being queer in the sports world. Being a gay man in a hypermasculine sport such as hockey is an issue most would like to avoid, as there is a belief that gay men are not “masculine enough” to compete in such an aggressive sport. Further, women tend to avoid coming out as lesbian to not satisfy the stereotype that all female athletes are lesbian. These are issues that are birthed from overall societal misconceptions about people of the LGBTQ+ community. Slowly but surely, parts of society are becoming more open to diversity in sexual and gender orientation, and we are on our way to a world where it really will not be a big deal for people to reveal that they are not heterosexual.
Duplessis says that his decision to come out was partially driven by his desire to provide more role models to young athletes who may be feeling the same way he did for so long. He is hoping that he can help others come out, be proud of who they are, and to not be afraid of how peers will react.