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Adelaide United player Josh Cavallo has come out as gay, becoming the only current male professional footballer in the world to do so.
The young Socceroos star announced the news on social media on Wednesday, sparking an outpouring of support.
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"Today, I'm ready to speak about something personal that I'm finally comfortable to talk about in my life," Cavallo posted on Twitter and Instagram.
"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 mould 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."
Outpouring of support after Josh Cavallo announcement
Cavallo said he wanted to change perceptions around sexuality in football and help others come out the way he has.
"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," he wrote.
"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!"
Cavallo's revelation was met with praise and congratulations around the football world.
The midfielder played nine games for Western United before moving to Adelaide in 2021, playing 19 games for the Reds.
He has represented the Socceroos at Under-20 level on one occasion.
Congratulations 🎉 🏳️🌈 ❤️
— Leith Marshall (@LeithMarshall) October 27, 2021
We are so proud of you brother! Your courage will save lives!
— Thomas Beattie (@IamTomBeattie) October 27, 2021
We are so proud of you Josh! You will always have our support ❤️
— Isuzu UTE A-League (@aleaguemen) October 27, 2021
Respect, the strength to speak out and own who you are 🙌🏽🏳️🌈
— Caitlin Foord (@CaitlinFoord) October 27, 2021
Massive respect for you Josh! I hope you can be an inspiration for all players not just in the A-League, but around the world as you said.
Glory fan here, but you have all my support! 🏳🌈
— Simon V (@rithmaster) October 27, 2021
Complete legend. I admire your strength and wisdom. This is setting up a special legacy.
— Keith (@Keith28761064) October 27, 2021
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