Joshua Cavallo: Breaking Barriers
Young Socceroo and Adelaide United left-back come defensive midfielder Joshua Cavallo has made history by becoming the first openly gay male in any code of football in Australia.
In an emotional statement made via Twitter Cavallo said he was "publicly proud to announce I am gay". The 21-year-old acknowledged potential negative reactions to his coming out. He hoped that he would inspire other closeted male footballers to come out publicly and show how inclusive the world of football can be.
Here is his statement in full:
"Today, I'm ready to speak about something personal that I'm finally comfortable to talk about in my life. 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. 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 mold 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. In football, you only have a small window to achieve greatness, and coming out publicly may have a negative impact on a career. As a gay footballer, I know there are other players 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. 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. 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. To my Adelaide United family, thank you for greeting me with the utmost respect and acceptance. I'm incredibly grateful. Happy Pride and go United!"
The Young Socceroo has received almost immediate support from his fellow professionals online with superstar Sam Kerr and Sydney FC legend Alex Wilkinson amongst them.
Cavallo recently signed a new two-year deal at Adelaide United after somewhat of a breakthrough season in the City of Churches. He reportedly rejected advances from several clubs in Europe in favor of staying at the Reds.
In this writer's opinion, I long for the day that something like this isn't newsworthy and it's just an accepted part of life. Unfortunately, that's not where we are right now as a society. With this in mind, Josh's choice to come out publicly should be celebrated and hopefully, his courage inspires others to live their truths without fear of being discriminated against.
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