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Professional male footballer Josh Cavallo comes out as gay in world first
27 October 2021, 13:35
Professional footballer Josh Cavallo has come out as gay, becoming the first current professional footballer in the world to do so.
Writing on his Twitter account, the Australian footballer said it had been a "journey" to get to a point where he could speak openly about his sexuality but he was "proud" to make the announcement.
"Today, I'm ready to speak about something personal that I'm finally comfortable to talk about in my life," wrote the Adelaide United player.
"I am proud to publicly announce that I am gay.
"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."
He said he had been "fighting" his sexuality for six years, having grown up thinking he could never be a professional footballer because of it.
"Growing up, I always felt the need to hide myself because I was ashamed," he continued.
"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 added that he had to "learn to mask my feelings in order to fit the mould of a professional footballer".
He said he was speaking out because he knew "there are other players living in silence".
"In football you only have a small window to achieve greatness, and coming out publicly may have a negative impact on a career," said Mr Cavallo.
"I want to help change this, to show that everyone is welcome in a game of football, and deserve the right to be their authentic self."
The 21-year-old said it was "astonishing" that there were no active professional footballers in the world that have come out as gay.
"I hope that in sharing who I am, I can show others who identify as LGBTQ+ that they are welcome in the football community," he said.
He finished by thanking his team for "greeting me with the utmost respect and acceptance".
Many other professional footballers have publicly come out as gay - but not until after they have retired.
The football community have rallied around Mr Cavallo.
"The footballing world is behind you and we wish you all the very best," tweeted the Premier League.
Arsenal said: "Thank you @JoshCavallo for your strength and bravery. You are an inspiration to millions. Everyone deserves the right to be themselves. The world of football is a better place today, because of you."
Adelaide United themselves tweeted: "We stand alongside @JoshCavallo for proudly being true to himself and will continue to love and support him as a member of our beautifully diverse family."