‘I did not need the whole world to know I was gay.’
Dennis Del Valle, playing for a Swiss Team (Lausanne), opened up about his homosexuality in an interview with Swiss website 24 Heures.
He said he regretted not coming out at his teammates earlier and added: “Now is the time to speak up. There must be lots of young athletes who live in secret, in Switzerland and elsewhere. On my level, I’ve had a successful career being gay. I hope they will say to themselves: ‘Why not me?’ Maybe I could change someone’s life. Me speaking out could allow someone to gain confidence, to feel safer, to not stop playing sport for fear of rejection.”
When asked why he came out so late to his teammates he replied: “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.”
A hope to inspire other queer athletes
He added: “I didn’t do this for myself, I did not need the whole world to know I was gay. I was already happy and proud of who I have become for a couple of years now. To me the important thing was to be able to share my story and be able to inspire other young kids who can or are going through the same situation, so they can have someone to relate to! Thank you for all the loving messages of support, respect and appreciation. It means a lot to me right now.”
These are definitely the kind of examples in sport we really need the most.