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Moises Spilere: Brazil's first gay football club president

Tobias Käufer
March 24, 2023

Moises Spilere is the first openly homosexual leader of a football club in Brazil and he has big plans for the future.

Moisés Spilere holding a flag with LGBTQ colors and club badge
Moises Spilere has been at the helm of the Caravaggio FC football club since the beginning of February.Image: Privat

Moises Spilere remembers the day of his election very well. "It was rather spontaneous and came about that way," the 35-year-old told DW.

In the past, elections at Caravaggio Futebol Clube were usually held where members turned to a group that was willing to take over the leadership and run the club.

"I was ready this time, together with others, to take on that responsibility," Spilere said.

By the end of the day, he was elected unanimously and for the last few weeks, Moises Spilere has been the chairman of Caravaggio Futebol Clube.

As a second-division club from Nova Venza, a city of 14,000 inhabitants in the state championship of the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina, the personnel affair of this relatively small team attracted an unusual amount of media attention throughout Brazil.

Solely because Moises Spilere is the first openly homosexual club president in the country. The national newspapers reported on his appointment, LGBTQ blogs attributed great importance to his election, and he is a sought-after interview partner.

"I have always been very open with my sexual orientation and I never had many problems with it," Spilere said. "Of course, after puberty ends, there is always that teenage drama when it comes to telling parents or friends." 

"I also went through this phase quite intensely. Like all gay boys and girls, especially here in Brazil, which is a pretty homophobic country."

But, at 35, everyone who knows Spilere already knew about his orientation. Because he comes from a privileged social class — a white industrialist family — the process was easier for him.

"If I were black and poor, I might not have had this chance to show what I could do for the club," he admitted.

Homophobic comments masked as concern

"After the news broke nationally, I had some problems with some people making unfortunate comments with their homophobia disguised as concern," Spilere explained. "For example, they would say, 'We are concerned about the image of the club.'"

He tried to talk to some of the people responsible for homophobic comments on the internet, which was sometimes was successful, sometimes not.

Spilere is hopeful that the media fuss will now die down and that everyone will look forward together.

"I don't want the club to be associated with me only because I belong to the LGBTQ community," he said. "Because the association is very committed to its work. It is supported by many hands."

People stand around the edges of an LGBTQ flag covering a street at a demonstration
Demonstration of the LGBTQ scene in Rio de JaneiroImage: Tobias Käufer/DW

"We have a broad and heterogeneous board that works on a voluntary basis and we have a high percentage of women, which we are very proud of."

Spilere believes his election as club president was the start of a process of normalization, which Brazil is sorely in need of.

"We have seen a growing hatred in Brazil in recent years," he said. "Not only against the LGBTQ agenda, but also against other minorities. This is a very sad thing. But I always try to see the glass half full and not half empty." 

Ambitious plans

Spilere wants to focus on his plans and visions for the future of the club. The team have plenty of ambitions and are pushing ahead with the professionalization they started only a few years ago.

"We have a big dream of playing in the Serie A of Santa Catarina," he said. "In order for that to become reality at some point, the general conditions are to be tackled.

"We still need infrastructural improvements, for example in the capacity of the stands, improving the lighting of the stadium, replacing the turf. All that is part of our project, and we are already in talks about funding."

Promotion is a dream, not only for the club's management, but also for the fans and for the whole region.

But playing at the state level is not the limit to their ambitions: "We dream of playing in the national championship one day."

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