Gay footballer Josh Cavallo has a message for the homophobes sending him death threats

Australian footballer Josh Cavallo

Gay footballer Josh Cavallo has issued a passionate message to homophobes who sent him death threats, and told social media platforms to “do better”. 

The 24-year-old Australian defender, who came out in 2021 and has since campaigned for better LGBTQ+ support in the sport, shared several comments he had received on Instagram, including death threats and insistence that gay people should not play football. 

“I share my life via this social media platform to help individuals grow around the world. To feel empowered in their own skin. To be comfortable with the person they wish to be,” the Adelaide United star wrote on Instagram, apologising for the “triggering” nature of the hate comments he reposted.

“I’m hand-on-heart so proud of how much my football club and the LGBTQIA+ community have grown in the world of football but we have to remember there is still a huge amount of work left.”

Calling for social media platforms to do a better job in protecting LGBTQ+ people, he added: “We are in 2023 and this behaviour can be more harmful than you think.

“Two years on from my coming out journey, and I go through my every-day life being reminded how people wish me dead.”

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This isn’t the first time Cavallo has been open about his experiences with homophobia, having previously shared hateful messages and called out world governing body FIFA as it prepared to host last year’s men’s World Cup in Qatar, where it is illegal to be gay.

Last year rival A-League side Melbourne Victory was fined $5,000 Australian (£2,650, $3,380) after fans hurled abuse at Cavallo, with Football Australia commending the star for his “courage in calling out this unacceptable behaviour”, adding: “To be clear, the actions of the spectators responsible for using homophobic slurs against Josh Cavallo were completely unacceptable”.

In the wake of the incident, Cavallo said he would “never apologise for living my truth” and insisted that “hate will never win”.

He went on to say: “Football is a game for everyone, no matter who you are, what colour your skin is or where you come from. I don’t want any child or adult to have to receive the hateful and hurtful messages that I’ve received.”

Young queer people should “hold [their] heads up high and keep chasing [their] dreams”, he added.

Anyone who has witnessed or experienced a hate crime is urged to call the police on 101, Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit the True Vision website. In an emergency, always dial 999.