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Pro volleyball player Dennis Del Valle comes out as gay

"Now is the time to speak up."

2020-05-11

Professional volleyball player  Dennis Del Valle has come out publicly as gay.

The Puerto Rican athlete, who currently plays for the Swiss international squad, said he hoped to serve as an inspiration to other young sportsmen struggling with their sexuality.

In an interview with 24 Heures, Del Valle said: “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.

 
 
 
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Season has been officially cancelled... I am a little sad it had to end this way, but this whole situation is completely out of our hands. Safety first! I Truly enjoyed every minute on the court with this young team. Loved the fight, the passion and the energy we were able to bring, especially for the last period of the season. Every year it’s an opportunity of growth, in and off the court which for sure helped me to learn more things about myself. I am thankful and proud that I was able to wear and defend @lucvolleyball colors once again. There’s no doubt that this place, this club, this city and all the people I have gotten to meet while my time here will have a special place in my heart. Now it’s time to rest the mind, reflect and safely try to cross the Atlantic Ocean at some point. 😅🤪 Everyone be smart, be safe and huge THANK YOU for your support and for following my career wherever I am. #VamosLUC #LuckyNumber7 #ClassicDelVal

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"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."

Del Valle, 31, added that the pressures associated with being part of an international sports team prevented him from coming out publicly sooner.

 
 
 
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No te distraigas viendo quien va más rápido o más lento, simplemente concéntrate en dar lo mejor de tí...

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"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", he explained.

"When I get to the room, I’m there to work. It’s my priority. I’m not here to watch guys or flirt."

Following the interview's publication, Del Valle took to social media to thank people for their messages of support.

"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", he wrote.

"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!"