Josh Cavallo, Adelaide United player has come out as gay, becoming the only current highest rank male professional footballer in the world to declare so.
The 21-year-old stated on social media that he was
“ready to speak about something personal that I’m finally comfortable to talk about in my life”.
“I’m a footballer and I’m gay,”
the midfielder said in an accompanying video.
“All I want to do is play football and be treated equally.”
‘Fighting with my sexuality’
Josh also said he was fed up with trying to perform at his best
“and to live this double life, it’s exhausting”.
“It’s been a journey to get to this point in my life, but I couldn’t be happier with my decision to come out.”
“I have been fighting with my sexuality for six years now, and I’m glad I can put that to rest.”
He believe “people would think of me differently when they found out”.
“They would start saying bad things about me or making fun out of me. That’s not the case. If anything you would earn more respect from people.”
Analysis by Charlie41, Blogger Newssourge
“I’m a footballer and I’m gay.”
Those six words may not sound like much, yet Josh Cavallo’s resolution to declare publicly his sexuality is largely significant.
He’s decided to speak while still an active player – a decision that marks him out from the likes of Thomas Hitzlsperger, who only came out openly after retiring.
To a great degree, gay and am-bisexual men are more entitled in football than you think.
There are out players at the leagues below level four of the English football pyramid, as well as gay referees like Ryan Atkin and James Adcock.
Nevertheless to have a high rank professional like Josh Cavallo feel comfortable enough to open up publicly while still playing is a great step – and, as proved by the reaction on social media, a welcome development as well.
As Josh himself states,a lot of men have felt as if the only way to be successful in football is by conceding their sexuality – with many deciding to step away from the game completely rather than being their authentic self.
His determination to speak out (with the full support of his team-mates) indicates that, in 2021, it just doesn’t have to be that way any longer.
Few superior male football players have come out as gay in the course of their careers.
Andy Brennan became the first erstwhile Australian League player to declare in 2019 when the ex-Newcastle Jet was still playing in a lower tier.
One-time Aston Villa midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger disclosed he was gay after retiring from the sport.
In 1990, Justin Fashanu revealed he was gay. He took his own life in 1998 after claims of sexual assault were made against him by a 17-year-old in the US.
A former youth player for English club Hull City Thomas Beattie, came out in 2020, and said he was proud of Josh, adding
“visibility and representation matters”.
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Josh’s declaration has ignited an outflow of support for him, which he’s called “immense”.
Australia’s professional players union stated it was a “wonderful moment” for him, the sport and “the LGBTI+ community”.
“Being a closeted footballer, I’ve had to learn to mask my feelings in order to fit the mould of a professional footballer.”
“That’s a lot of wasted young players missing out – players that could be very talented, but who don’t fit the norm.”
“As a gay footballer, I know there are other players living 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 authentic self,” he added.
Newsbeat has communicated Josh’s management but they’ve not yet replied.