In October, 22-year-old Australian football player Josh Cavallo, publicly came out as gay, becoming the first active (out) gay top-flight professional football player. It's a big moment for sporting professionals and the LGBTQ+ community, and we’re here to breakdown why Josh's coming out could be an indicator that sports culture may be changing.
Why Josh Cavallo's coming out matters
Queer players have often felt discriminated against, especially within male-driven sports like football. Historically, gay/bi men have often been stigmatised for being too effeminate and not 'manly' enough to play games like football. As a result, many had been encouraged not to come out by their agents, coaches, and family for fear that their sexuality would hamper their careers. Because of this, many gay men have felt that hiding their sexuality was the only way to be successful in football.
Although some male football players have come out as gay after retiring from the sport, like Thomas Hitzlsperger, and Thomas Beattie, Josh is the first active player to come out while still in the profession. This is a significant turning point for both the sport and the queer community, but what makes his coming out such a big deal is the overall response from fans and fellow players. During his coming out video, Josh mentions that his coach, teammates, friends, and family have supported him in his coming out. In addition, many media outlets and key sporting figures, including Gary Lineker, Jordan Henderson, Raphaël Varanein have also commended his decision.
What the future looks like for out LGBTQ+ sports professionals
Clubs and fans have often been criticised for their misogynistic and homophobic nature. Still, with this recent revelation, it seems as though the culture may be shifting.
Although there have been plenty of queer women in football and other traditionally male-dominated sports, Josh's decision to come out has become a key moment in LGBTQ+ sports and will hopefully inspire others to let go of their limited beliefs of what it means to be a good team player.
This past year has been an exciting time for LGBTQ+ people in sport. At least 182 out and proud athletes competed in the Olympics this year, breaking the record from the 2016 Rio Olympics, which had 56 queer athletes competing. In fact, Quinn, a midfielder for the Canadian women’s football team, became the first transgender and non-binary athlete to win a medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
As an LGBT-owned business, we could not be prouder of his brave decision and hope that Josh Cavallo's story will be the first of many for sporting professionals and fans.
If Josh Cavallo’s story has inspired you to wear your pride, whether it be subtly or out and proud, check out our current collection of queer signalling bracelets on our main page here. We’re still adding to the collection but be sure to follow our social media for updates!
The recent homophobic attacks in Clapham have shocked and saddened many people. These attacks are a reminder that LGBTQ+ rights and acceptance in society can be regressive, and not always progressive. In the UK, we have made great progress in recent years, but there is still a lot of work to be done.