Adelaide United player Josh Cavallo has announced himself as the first openly gay male athlete to play in the A-league, revealing his sexual orientation in an emotional social media post.
Cavallo, 21, is the first Australian male athlete to come as gay while actively playing since rugby league player Ian Roberts in 1995.
“There’s something personal that I need to share with everyone,” Cavallo said, in a Twitter post by Adelaide United on Wednesday.
“I’m a footballer and I’m gay.”
Cavallo expressed his emotional turmoil growing up, feeling the need to hide.
He said the “double life” he was forced to live was exhausting, and something he didn’t want anyone else to experience.
“I was ashamed, ashamed I would never be able to do what I love and be gay.”
“Hiding who I truly am to pursue a dream I always wished for as a kid. All I want to do is play football and be treated equally.”
Cavallo said coming out to Adelaide United’s players and coaching staff had been incredible, with extremely positive responses and support.
Cavallo said he is now proud to be gay.
“It’s starting to make me think why have I been hiding this burden for so long?
“I want to inspire and show people that it’s ok to be yourself and play football, it’s ok to be gay and play football.
“Through my coming out, I’m excited to open up and show people the show Josh Cavallo, to show the true Josh Cavallo.”
Cavallo explained to Network 10’s Simon Hill, despite his successful season in the red jersey, with a new long-term deal and winning the rising star award, he didn’t feel like celebrating the year that was.
“When I got home, I just felt numb. I had no emotions. My life was great, but it wasn’t a life where I got to be my authentic self,” he said.
“Instead of celebrating, I sat in my bed crying that night. Having to constantly lie to the people I cared about wasn’t the way I wanted to live the rest of my life. My double life started to have a huge influence on my mental health. Although the football was amazing, I still wasn’t happy.
“I had to learn to live a life of lies. To live that double life and lie to your brothers is horrible. It’s something I don’t want anyone to experience.”