“I’m a footballer and I’m gay,” says the only top-flight male professional soccer player in the world to come out as gay.
“All I want to do is play football and be treated equally,” wrote the 21 year old Australian A-League player on social media.
Josh Cavallo says he was tired of living a double life.
It was affecting his mental health.
“This is bigger than football”, he told BBC in an interview:
“I was going into dark places.
I have been fighting with my sexuality for six years now, and I’m glad I can put that to rest.
At the end of the day I just wanted to be happy. This is bigger than football, it’s my life.”
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Josh thought people would make fun out of him as soon as he revealed his sexuality.
That was not the case.
Here is how FIFA and the world reacted to the news:
“You no longer have to hide who you are Joshua Cavallo.
You are not alone, as the football community around the world today has shown. We are very proud of you. Your words will be an inspiration & support to so many.“
Australia’s professional players union said:
“It’s a wonderful moment for him, the sport and the LGBTI+ community.”
“We applaud the courage shown by Joshua Cavallo.
The football community supports you all the way”
“We stand alongside Joshua Cavallo for proudly being true to himself and will continue to love and support him as a member of our beautifully diverse family.“
“Proud of you, Josh!“
“Joshua Cavallo is the first top-flight professional footballer to come out as gay. I’m sending him a whole lot of love today.“
“What an inspiring young man! Thank you for your courage, everyone has the right to be themselves. Just stay yourself and enjoy the life you choose to live“
It’s time for a change. Not only in soccer, but in all walks of life.
“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.”
The reactions we are seeing worldwide will help bring LGBT fans back to soccer and hopefully to other sports.
Better yet, Josh’s message should be broadcast and reverberate in all walks of life.