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Australian footballer Josh Cavallo comes out as gay: 'It's my freedom day'

He is the only current top-flight male professional footballer in the world to have publicly come out.

Australian footballer Josh Cavallo comes out as gay: 'It's my freedom day'
Cover Image Source: Joshua Cavallo of Adelaide United during the A-League match between Adelaide United and Wellington Phoenix at Coopers Stadium, on May 07, 2021, in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

Australian footballer Josh Cavallo has come out as gay, becoming the only current top-flight male professional footballer in the world to do so. The Adelaide United midfielder made the announcement in a video posted to the team's Twitter account on Tuesday night, in which he says: "I'm a footballer, and I'm gay." The 21-year-old also shared the video to his own social media profiles along with a post in which he explains the emotional turmoil he went through before building up the courage to speak his truth. "Today, I'm ready to speak about something personal that I'm finally comfortable to talk about in my life," the post reads.


"I am proud to publically announce that I'm 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 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."


"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," Cavallo continued. In the video, which has been liked over 50k times since being posted on the team's Twitter account, the player explained that all he wants to do is, "play football and be treated equally."


Cavallo — who is still in the infancy of his career — added that he is tired of trying to perform at his best "and to live this double life, it's exhausting." He shared more about how the burden of keeping this secret reached the point of affecting his mental health in an interview with BBC World News' Yalda Hakim. "There was a long period in my life where it brought me sadness and it took me to a dark place. It was over six years of pain and I'm so happy and excited to put that to rest today," he said. "And today [is] so positive, it's my freedom day and I've never been this happy in my entire life."


According to The Guardian, public reaction to Cavallo's announcement has been overwhelmingly positive. Teammates, clubs, and fans of all ages and orientations have praised the player, with some even sharing their own experiences in coming to terms with their sexuality. "Any young person who is struggling with their identity, or feeling excluded or judged, can look today to Josh Cavallo," tweeted Labor senate leader Penny Wong, who is an openly gay woman.


Cavallo said he had been worried that coming out might negatively impact his career, especially since he knows other players who are 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 wrote. "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."


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