Josh Cavallo, a 21-year-old soccer player for the top division Australian club Adelaide United, came out as gay via Twitter last week.
As the first international star athlete to do this, Cavallo is breaking the longtime stigma that has hurt gay athletes and kept them in the closet.
This is a huge step in the right direction for social justice in the LGBTQ and athletic community.
Although there have been a few professionals athletes who have come out as gay in the NFL, MLB, MLS and NHL all professional leagues in the United States, there was not until now such a high-level international soccer player to come out before Cavallo.
Soccer is the most popular sport in the world and it is played in almost every country of the world. Cavallo is a trailblazer and an international role model. But there is much more work to be done on this front.
There are still 69 countries where homosexuality is illegal.
Due to the popularity Cavallo has gained through playing international soccer, these countries that are homophobic are now forced to watch Cavallo play on a world stage during international play, and in some sense forced to face their bigoted and dangerous laws.
They must see that their stereotypes about sports and toxic masculinity are outdated.
Cavallo as a superb athlete. His sexuality has no baring on his athletic ability as sexuality simply has no baring on athletic ability. Period.
Cavallo’s coming out was heroic, though it shouldn’t be. Hopefully his coming out, with his large following and his Twitter platform, will empower many others throughout the world – athletes, kids, anyone who is afraid to be who they are.
It’s time to break down once-and-for-all the toxic and hurtful stereotypes of male athletes for their mental and physical health, and for the health of their fans and communities.
Following in the footsteps of some American athletes in recent years, Cavallo has become the role model on the international stage for many who struggle and who may have felt that their sexuality is a barrier to their goals and dreams – athletic, personal or professional.
Sports are for everyone regardless of sexuality, gender or sexual orientation.
Unsigned editorials represent the opinion of the Campus Times Editorial Board.