(To read the original text in Swedish click here)
The biggest role model right now in football is probably Josh Cavallo. A football star and homosexual, the first player on the men’s side that is currently playing and that is openly gay. A story that is strong, brave and extremely important. Huge respect.
Being homosexual and a professional football player is something that is more common and more accepted in the women’s game than the men’s, at least back home in Sweden. Without having the perfect answer on why it is like that and without generalising too much it is easy to say that the football culture on the men´s side is a lot more rough. The expectations of how a male player should behave in a locker room full of other male players is an expectation based on a distorted picture of society. I have not experienced the same expectations in the women’s game. I found it being totally the opposite; there are more questions about why everybody is gay.
Three quick questions that need an answer ASAP:
- Do you feel like you really get stared at in the shower by all of the players that are gay? Answer: No.
- Are you afraid that like all of the gay ones will fall in love with you? Answer: No.
- Like, do you need to be gay to become a female football player? Answer: No.
To summarise the whole thing; no not all female players are not homosexual, but people feel more secure with the people they surround themselves with that they dare to come out and to be honest and open about themselves. This leads to increased diversity within the sport and better mental well-being.
Despite society constantly changing and evolving, there will always be some people who will remain rigid and “old” in their opinions and understanding. Even if the macho culture is big in men´s Sport we all know that there are also male players that are homosexual. These players will have their struggles daily about who they are and their fear about coming out as a result of the expectations created, the cultural norms and expectations present in men’s sport. Josh Cavallo took the first step, he bravely revealed his true self and immediately became one of our most important contemporary role models. The support shown from the world is amazing. Big clubs such as Liverpool, Juventus and Barcelona quickly showed their support and encouragement. Stars both from the women’s and the men´s game did the same. Social media was all about Josh Cavallo. And so it should have been.
Cavallo´s courage lead and will continue to lead to normalising diversity within sport. Sport is an amazing platform for change and when a high profile athlete takes this step, many more will get the courage to do the same. When Zlatan Ibrahimovic supports and encourages Cavallo, many more people will try to understand, respect and also show their support. Cavallo is at the forefront of the line and the most important person in this, but all of us who stands behind him are on the same search for change. If we dare to share our stories, then we are moving towards a society that includes more openminded people with more understanding about inclusion and diversity. Big respect to you Cavallo; you are a true role model.