Australian Socceroo Josh Cavallo has made history by coming out in an emotional online video as gay.
“I am proud to publicly announce that I am gay,” Cavallo said in a video released by his club, Adelaide United.
“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.
“Adelaide United has made me realise football is more than just a game – it is a family.”
Cavallo, 21, is the first current male A-League player to publicly come out.
He is the only openly gay active professional footballer in the world.
Former Newcastle Jets player Andy Brennan publicly came out in 2019, after his A-League career.
LGBTIQ+ inclusion program Pride in Sport congratulated Cavallo for his bravery in coming out and Adelaide United for their support.
“Like Cavallo, many athletes self-edit their existence in sport and expend a good deal of their daily energy on hiding their true self from others,” said National Program Manager Beau Newell.
“His story highlights the fear that many athletes have in coming out: that they will face potential discrimination, harassment, and bullying from those within their sport.
“This is a fear that is justified for many, but as many [LGBTIQ+] athletes who have recently come out over the past few years have demonstrated, it has not been their experience.
“It is the right of every player to be accepted and affirmed, on and off the sporting field, and we know that when this happens, mental and physical health outcomes dramatically improve.”
The Pride Cup team said that they were “thrilled” to see Cavallo come out, given that 87% of young gay men are closeted in sporting environments and others avoiding participating in sports at all.
“Josh’s incredible, heartfelt story speaks directly to the work we do at Pride Cup,” they said.
“We encourage all sports communities to embrace [LGBTIQ+] inclusion and visibility.”
Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations CEO Darryl O’Donnell said that Cavallo’s coming out was an important moment for inclusion.
“Professional sport in Australia holds significant cultural importance,” said O’Donnell.
“By coming out publicly, Josh Cavallo has not only made a huge step in breaking down barriers for [LGBTIQ+] athletes in sport, he has also made an important statement that [LGBTIQ+] Australians have a place in every area of Australian public life.
“Nobody should have to hide who they are.”
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