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YOUNG QMJHL SNIPER REVEALS HE IS GAY DURING PODCAST, HOPES TO INSPIRE OTHERS

Every now and again in the world of professional sports, someone comes forward and makes a statement that can impact not only the players and personnel within that sport, but others in similar situations around the world. Such is the case with 17-year-old QMJHL forward Yanic Duplessis, who revealed something very personal about himself earlier this week, garnering a lot of interest in the hockey world.

On Labour Day, Duplessis, who plays for the Drummondville Voltigeurs, sat down for an interview with the Atlantic Canadian FDS Podcast Network and, very courageously, revealed that he was homosexual in what is now making headline hockey news, and for good reason.



In the past, hockey has not exactly proven to be the most progressive sport, with things like racism and prejudice running rampant until just recently when groups like the Hockey Diversity Alliance were formed to help combat the injustices that exist not only on the ice, but in the locker room as well. Duplessis taking this huge step forward and revealing the truth about his sexuality will, hopefully, influence change in a similar way for the gay community as the HDA's work has for the black/minority community.

"It was a struggle for me, and it shouldn't be," Duplessis said in an interview with CBC's Quebec AM.

"It shouldn't be a big deal."

Obviously, it is a big deal. Athletes don't often divulge this sort of intimate information, living in fear of what it might do to their career or how other athletes, coaches, teammates, etc. may suddenly begin treating them differently because of the information. What Duplessis didn't count on was the outpouring of support that has followed, especially from one particular teammate who regrets not knowing, as he had been unable to help Duplessis through his struggle.

"He [my teammate] came home and started crying because he said 'I didn't know you were going through this alone, and you should have told us'," Duplessis said.

"Locker room talk" is a term we've all heard before. Maybe from a parent or a teacher who is attempting to curb vulgar language at home or at school. It alludes to the locker room being an appropriate place to say inappropriate things. And it's something that young players in Duplessis' position have had to endure, suffering in silence, which is quite unfortunate. However, the young forward has a great outlook on those situations, refusing to condemn others for their lack of understanding just how impactful the things they say can be to a teammate who is keeping the kind of secret that Duplessis had been.

"The things that were said," he said, pausing. "If they knew I was gay, I'm sure they wouldn't have said what they did."

Duplessis, whether he knows it or not, has made a profound difference for others in similar situations in hockey or in other sports with his courage to come forward and let other young athletes, at least in Canada, know they're not alone.

"I didn't think it was going to go this far," he said. "But I'm glad it did."

MIKE ARMENTI
SEPTEMBER 13, 2020  (19H56)
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