Adelaide United player Josh Cavallo has said he is gay, becoming the only professional footballer in the world to do so.
The 21-year-old wrote on social media that he is “ready to talk about something personal that I finally feel comfortable talking about in my life.”
“I am a footballer and I am gay,” the midfielder said in an accompanying video.
“All I want is to play football and be treated the same.”
“Fighting with my sexuality”
Josh said he was tired of trying to perform at his best “and living this double life, it’s exhausting”.
“It has been a journey to get to this point in my life, but I couldn’t be happier with my decision to come out.”
“I’ve been struggling with my sexuality for six years and I’m happy to be able to silence it.”
He thought that “people would think of me differently when they found out”.
“He’d start saying bad things about me or making fun of me. He doesn’t. If anything, you’d get more respect from people.”
Analysis by Jack Murley, presenter of the BBC’s LGBT sports podcast
“I am a footballer and I am gay”.
Those six words might not sound like much, but Josh Cavallo’s decision to open up about his sexuality is hugely significant.
He chose to speak while still an active player, something that sets him apart from the likes of Thomas Hitzlsperger, who only came out publicly after retirement.
In many ways, gay and bisexual men are more represented in football than you think.
There are players outside the league of the English football pyramid, as well as gay referees such as Ryan Atkin and James Adcock.
But having a top-notch professional like Josh Cavallo who feels comfortable enough to come out while still playing is a huge step – and, as evidenced by the reaction on social media, welcome too.
As Josh himself puts it, too many men have felt like the only way to be successful in football was to hide their sexuality, with many choosing to step away from the game altogether rather than being their true selves.
His decision to speak out (with the full support of his teammates) shows that, in 2021, that will no longer be the case.
Few elite male footballers have come out gay during their career.
Andy Brennan became the first former Australian League player to come out in 2019 when the former Newcastle Jet was still playing at a lower level.
Former Aston Villa midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger has revealed he is gay after retiring from the sport.
In 1990, Justin Fashanu claimed to be gay. He took his own life in 1998 after a 17-year-old in the United States accused him of sexual assault.
Thomas Beattie, a former youth player from England’s Hull City club, was released in 2020 and said he was proud of Josh, adding “visibility and representation are important”.
Josh’s statement sparked a wave of support for him, which he called “immense.”
- Coming out as bisexual to my soccer teammates
- “Inclusion is bringing LGBT fans back to football”
- “Going out in football was great”
Australia’s professional players union said it was a “wonderful time” for him, the sport and “the LGBTI + community”.
“Being a hidden footballer, I had to learn to mask my feelings to fit the mold of a professional footballer.”
“That’s a lot of wasted young players who lose – players who might be very talented, but who don’t fit the norm.”
“As a gay footballer, I know there are other players who live in silence. I want to help change this, to show that everyone is welcome in the game of football and deserves the right to be their true self,” he added.
Newsbeat has reached out to Josh’s management but they haven’t responded yet.
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Why do fans want a great UK footballer to come out?
- July 26, 2019
“Going out in football was great”
- 19 August 2019
Coming out as bisexual to my soccer teammates
- August 3
“Inclusion is bringing LGBT fans back to football”
- July 1
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This Article is Sourced from BBC News. You can check the original article here: Source