In response to Adelaide United Football Club’s Josh Cavallo coming out publicly as gay, Pride in Sport, the national not-for-profit program that supports Australian sporting organisations and clubs in all aspects of LGBTQ inclusion, has issued the following statement.
Beau Newell, National Program Manager for Pride In Sport, said:
Pride in Sport applauds Adelaide United player Josh Cavello for his courage and leadership in sharing his coming out story, via a powerful video released earlier today by his club.
Cavello, an elite, professional male footballer, is the one of only few elite male athletes in Australia to come out publicly as gay. In the video, he addressed his challenges in coming out to family, friends, teammates, and others across the sporting community, but also the relief and joy he feels for doing so.
His bravery is to be congratulated and his journey shows the unfortunate reality that many athletes face when they are not able to enjoy the sport they love as their true selves.
Like Cavallo, many athletes self-edit their existence in sport and expend a good deal of their daily energy on hiding their true self from others. His story highlights the fear that many athletes have in coming out: that they will face potential discrimination, harassment and bullying from those within their sport.
We know that experiences of prejudice and harassment, and/or not being able to live openly can impact on the mental health of LGBTQ people. Research shows that traditional sports are often seen as unwelcome spaces for people of all ages with diverse sexualities or genders, with many athletes being completely or partially in the closet while playing sport due to fear of intolerance and discrimination from other players, coaches and officials.
This is a fear that is justified for many, but as many LGBTQ athletes who have recently come out over the past few years have demonstrated, it has not been their experience.
It is the right of every player to be accepted and affirmed, on and off the sporting field, and we know that when this happens, mental and physical health outcomes dramatically improve.
Sport has an amazing opportunity to provide a safe and inclusive environment to all people, including people with diverse genders and sexualities. We congratulate the Adelaide United Football Club for providing a member of their team with a welcoming, supportive, and safe professional environment where he can be himself.
We applaud Cavallo for sharing his story and couldn’t be prouder of him.
David Alexander, ACON Media and Communications
Mobile: 0428 477 042 | Email: DAlexander@acon.org.au