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Australian professional footballer comes out as gay

October 27, 2021

Josh Cavallo said he wants to show other people who are "struggling and are scared" that it is okay to be gay in football.

Josh Cavallo currently plays professionally in Australia's national league
Josh Cavallo currently plays professionally in Australia's national leagueImage: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Australian footballer Josh Cavallo became on Wednesday the first current professional player to come out as openly gay.

Cavallo currently plays for Adelaide United in Australia's soccer league and has represented his country at the under-20 level.

"I'm a footballer and I'm gay," the 21-year-old player wrote on social media, adding that he no longer wanted to keep his sexuality a secret. "All I want to do is play football and be treated equally," he said.

"Trying to perform at the best of your ability and to live this double life, it's exhausting, it's something I don't want anyone to experience," Cavallo added.

The young player said he had received support from the club, teammates and officials, adding that he wanted to be a positive role model for gay footballers.

"It's OK to be gay and play football. I want to show all the other people who are struggling and are scared," he said.

Why soccer is hiding an uncomfortable truth

Only current professional player to be out

Football is one of the most popular sports in the world, but not many of the game's players have come out as gay. The few who have, have done so after retirement to avoid possible homophobic abuse in what is seen as a very masculine and heteronormative sport.

Britain's Justin Fashanu was the first professional footballer to come out while still playing in 1990, but he faced difficulty finding acceptance in the game and ultimately hanged himself in 1998.

A charity set up by Fashanu's family released a letter last year from an anonymous gay player in the English Premier League, which highlighted the fears gay footballers face.

The player anonymous player described his situation as "an absolute nightmare." "I feel trapped and my fear is that disclosing the truth about what I am will only make things worse," the player said.

Cavallo said Fashanu's case had been on his mind and that he worried people would treat him differently if he came out as gay.

"But that's not the case,'' he said. "If anything, you earn more respect from people. Coming out to my loved ones, my peers, my friends, my teammates, my coaches has been incredible."

jcg/wd (AFP, AP)