Why We Need To Stop Waiting For Male Footballers To Come Out

“I’m a footballer and I’m gay.” These were brave and historic words from Josh Cavallo, the Adelaide United player who came out as LGBTQ this year. Justin Fashanu, the last male player who came out at the top of the male game while still playing professionally back in 1990, tragically took his own life in 1998.

Cavallo’s coming out has ended a 23-year period of drought for LGBTQ representation at the highest levels of the male game. “To live this double life, it’s exhausting,” Cavallo said, speaking to the BBC after his announcement.

For decades there has been speculation among fans and in wider society about when the next male player may come out as gay. The Sun newspaper has led much of the charge, publishing anonymous open letters written by LGBTQ footballers, detailing their agony at being closeted.

Of course, players coming out in the beautiful game isn’t only good for football – it’s good for society, too. Studies about LGBTQ representation in the media show how it can lead to LGBTQ people being better accepted by non-LGBTQ people. And queer fans have long wished for more representation on and off the pitch.

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