17-year-old QMJHL player Yanic Duplessis has come out before the start of the new hockey season. Duplessis, who is from New Brunswick, becomes one of the first elite athletes in the world to come out as gay. Past athletes who have come out in sports usually wait until after they retire to avoid the distraction but Duplessis wanted to be different to try and help other people who feel they are in a similar position to him. This is also important as Duplessis is an incoming NHL draft prospect.
Drafted by the Drummondville Voltigeurs, the New Brunswicker felt that it was a struggle for him and that it should not be that big of a deal. Coming out at this young of an age instead of waiting until after his career is over shows people that he does not fear what other people think. With him being out, he can now challenge the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that exists when it comes to sexuality in sports. With coming out, Duplessis becomes a instant role model to kids and adults around the world as being an openly gay athlete in an elite sport. In a 2016 article, it was reported that sports were still mainly heterosexual dominated but more sexual minority youth were participating. Duplessis shows that he was one of those youth from the study, proving it is in fact true, is working and that this is only the beginning of elite athletes coming out.
In what may be the most important part for the future of this movement, Duplessis was quoted as saying, “I didn’t think it was going to go this far,” he said. “But I’m glad it did.”