Josh Cavallo, a young player for Adelaide United, has become the first male professional Australian footballer to publicly come out as gay.
The 21-year-old Socceroo made the emotional announcement on Wednesday, October 27th, posting a statement on social media.
“Today, I’m ready to speak about something personal that I’m finally comfortable to talk about in my life,” he said. “I am proud to publicly announce that I am gay.”
He revealed the struggles he had faced dealing with his sexuality growing up. “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 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.
Being a gay closeted footballer, I’ve had to learn to mask my feelings in order to fit the mould of a professional footballer. Growing up being gay and playing football were just two worlds that hadn’t crossed paths before. I’ve lived my life assuming that this was a topic never to be spoken about.”
Cavallo then noted the “astonishing” fact that there are currently no other gay professional footballers in Australia who have publicly come out, adding that he hoped “this will change in the near future.”
He continued: “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.
Those who already knew this about me have met me with love and support every step of the way. I’m incredibly thankful for this support. To my family and friends – thank you, especially Tommy and David for making it possible for me to say proudly and publicly that I’m gay.” Cavallo ended by thanking his Adelaide United family for treating him with “the utmost respect and acceptance.”
Today’s announcement makes Cavallo the first openly gay male athlete to play in the A-League. A stigma has surrounded being openly gay for too long in football, with very few players feeling comfortable to reveal their sexuality in public. Here’s hoping that Cavallo’s bravery can inspire others to be themselves while playing the sport they love.