Pro volleyball player Dennis Del Valle has come out stating it was time to tell the world he is gay. The Puerto Rican player, currently playing in Switzerland, had an interview with a Swiss website, where he came out partly to show that gay athletes can play at elite levels.
“Now is the time to speak,” Del Valle said, according to a translation of the article. “There must be lots of young athletes who live in secret, in Switzerland and elsewhere. On my level, I have had a successful career being gay. I hope they will say to themselves: ‘Why not me?’ Maybe I could change someone’s life. My speech could allow some to gain confidence, to feel safer, not to stop [playing a] sport for fear of rejection.”
According to ‘Out Sports’, Del Valle is the first member of a major men’s team in any sport in Switzerland to come out. In his interview Del Valle said that he regrets not coming out to his LUC teammates earlier, even though he had had private talks about the fact that he was gay with one of his teammates.
“I especially didn’t want to break the chemistry of the team, that it could become weird in the locker room for some, that they imagine things, fixate on my homosexuality, no longer dare to go to shower in my presence, or whatever. When I get to the room, I’m there to work. It’s my priority. I’m not here to watch guys or flirt,” he said.
Later, Del Valle went on Facebook and wrote a post stating: “What an unusual Sunday for me. While I thought I was doing something nice and special for myself, I didn’t realize how much more I was doing for others like me. I wanted to use this platform not to tell the world my story or who I am. But to try to inspire other people, kids, especially athletes that don’t have anyone to look up to.”
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