Josh Cavallo celebrates one year since he came out as gay in moving post

Josh Cavallo smiles as he wears a pink football uniform for the Australian team Adelaide United

Josh Cavallo celebrated his coming out anniversary in a moving post on social media and how the support he received helped others “open their wings in becoming themselves”.

The Adelaide United player made history in October 2021 after he came out as gay in an emotional open letter and heartfelt video posted on social media. Cavallo has used his platform to speak about LGBTQ+ issues globally and in the sporting world. 

The Australian footballer shared in a post on Instagram on Thursday (27 October) that he didn’t know if there would “ever be a future for [him] in sport” when he “stood in front of a camera” and shared his truth last year

Cavallo reflected on what he’s been able to do with his platform since coming out and how he hoped to build more bridges for the LGBTQ+ community in the future. 

“Taking that step in my life was not only for myself but for the people in this world that believe there is no place for them in sport,” he wrote.

He continued: “Thank you to every single one of you reading this for your support. 

“You have not only helped me in my personal journey but you helped encourage so many others in the world to open their wings in becoming themselves.

“During this past year, there are many bridges that have been built for the next generation and I’m wanting to continue to help build these with my platform.”

Josh Cavallo’s landmark announcement made him the world’s only currently active out gay male top-flight professional footballer at the time.

Since then, several footballers including Jake Daniels and Zander Murray have followed suit in coming out, helping LGBTQ+ people feel seen in the sport they love.

After sharing his truth with the world, Cavallo faced horrific death threats and homophobic abuse from anti-LGBTQ+ football fans.

Fortunately, he received immense love and support from professional footballers, the LGBTQ+ community and fans. 

Cavallo spoke out against the 2022 World Cup being held in Qatar – a country where being part of the LGBTQ+ community is criminalised – at the Attitude Awards in October. 

The footballer said there’s still a “staggering” amount of work to bring forward “true equality” for LGBTQ+ people globally as many still face significant harm for “living honestly”. 

“We’re far from true equality when 69 countries still criminalise LGBTQ+ people [and] brush these issues off, not realising their son or daughter or teammate might be LGBTQ+,” he said.

He continued: “The athletes they cheer for [may be] bisexual or non-binary.

“I vow to stand up for the LGBTQ+ athletes and the fans at the World Cup in Qatar who can’t live openly or authentically. Qatar, FIFA, the world is watching. Do you see us?”

Josh Cavallo urged football authoritative bodies to consider the “rights” and “safety” of LGBTQ+ people when choosing future World Cup host countries. 

Homosexuality is illegal in the Gulf state. Same-sex relationships are outlawed and carry a punishment of several years in jail, hefty fines and, in some cases, queer people could face death. 

A damning report from Human Rights Watch revealed LGBTQ+ Qataris have faced harassment, arrest and abuse by authorities as recently as last month.

In September, the Football Association tried to assure queer fans that it would be safe for them to attend the World Cup, which kicks off in November. Yet, Qatar’s ambassador to the UK said LGBTQ+ people visiting the country can “hold hands” but should be “mindful” of “public displays of affection” at the World Cup.