Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Travis Dermott says he wants to more outwardly support LGBTQ people. So he’s putting his tape where his stick is.
This season, Dermott says he’s going to wrap Pride tape at the bottom of his stick more often. When asked about his new practice, he said the matter is personal.
“I have some family that is involved in the LGBTQ community,” Dermott said, via ESPN NHL reporter Kristen Shilton. “So I’d like to step forward and in the future take part in supporting them more vigorously.”
This is an awesome gesture from Dermott, whose allyship goes a long way towards fostering a more inclusive environment for LGBTQ hockey players. Even though some Pride tape may seem like a small thing, it signals that Dermott backs our community. NHL players showing their support for Pride isn’t a small thing for closeted hockey players.
Dermott has been representing Pride on his stick since at least 2019, which makes his announcement even better. The veteran has already established his ally credentials, but wants to do more.
“Openly talking about wanting to step up is huge. Love this,” tweeted out former pro hockey player Brock McGillis.
travis dermott also kept some of the pride tape on his stick for the game pic.twitter.com/q4AXInQGhl— mitch marney (@marnylandersen) May 2, 2021
Kurtis Gabriel, one of the league’s longtime allies, also gave Dermott props on social media.
Dermott was one of many NHL players who supported prospect Luke Prokop when he publicly came out last summer. The fifth-year defenseman shared the following message from Bruins forward Nick Foligno.
Last year, Outsports profiled an array of gay male hockey players who are coming out in droves and changing the sport’s insular culture. One of them, college hockey player Brock Weston, wrote about constantly hearing gay slurs at the rink. That insidious language kept him closeted for years, until he came out to his teammates, and found their hurtful words didn’t match their actual feelings.
“I was definitely expecting certain reactions from some people, and more times than not, they reacted better than I could have ever wished for,” Weston wrote. “People I thought would disown me or become even more cruel were among the first to voice their acceptance.”
The moral of the story is out gay male athletes usually have neutral or positive experiences with their teammates, as our Out in Sports study shows. But man, it would be nice if they knew that going in. It would cut down on a lot of anxiety and pain.
We need more athletes like Travis Dermott.