The world of men’s professional sports is not an arena where gay men have historically been made to feel as though they would be supported and accepted if they were to come out. However, A-League midfielder Josh Cavallo has decided to take a brave leap of faith by becoming the only known current male top-flight professional soccer player in the world to come out as gay.
Cavallo took to social media earlier this week to say that he was “ready to speak about something personal that I’m finally comfortable to talk about in my life.”
His club, Adelaide United, shared Cavallo’s emotional video on Twitter, where it’s since garnered attention from all corners of the world.
“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,” Cavallo wrote. “I have been fighting my sexuality for over six years now, and I’m glad I can put that to rest.”
“For the people that know me personally, you’ll know I’m a private person. Growing up, I always felt the need to hide myself because I was ashamed. Ashamed I would never be able to do what I loved and be gay. Hiding who I truly am, to pursue a dream I always wished for as a kid, to play football and be treated equally never felt like a reality,” he adds.
Although Cavallo was fearful that his coming out would damage the career he’s worked so hard to build up, he felt that he needed to embody his truth for other players who may be “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 says. “It is astonishing to know that there are currently no gay professional footballers who are out and actively playing, not only in Australia but around the world. Hopefully, this will change in the near future.”
“I hope that in sharing who I am, I can show others who identify as LGBTQ+ that they are welcome in the football community. As the game of football keeps expanding, I want to help evolve the game even further, and let other players in my situation feel that they’re not alone.”
Cavallo’s teammate Ben Halloran admired Cavallo’s courage for coming out, saying that “It’s sadly still very rare in the sporting world for men to come out.”
Assistant coach, Ross Aloisi, said: “Before Josh spoke with me, it was clear he was living with an incredible burden and unimaginable pain. To see Josh today, with that weight lifted off his shoulders, it makes me proud of how brave a man he is,” adding that “Josh’s mental health and wellbeing is the most important thing… Josh will always be Josh to us.”
Witnessing how Cavallo’s announcement was received with positivity, warmth, and support from his family, friends, and club will hopefully encourage others to celebrate their own diversity within a traditionally hyper-masculine space and help carve out a new era for men’s professional sports.
Image source: Football365