Set a small text size
Set the default text size
Set a large text size
I could never be arrogant enough to claim to understand what it is like to be judged, mocked and discriminated against as a gay man in Australian society.
Frankly, our position as a country leaves a lot to be desired in terms of eroding stereotypes, unconditional acceptance by all members of our communities, and reaching a final destination where the bigotry, mostly religious, that still permeates Australia, is finally wiped out.
When those people who still have archaic views on marriage and those who refuse to recognize the genuine love expressed between people, regardless of their gender, are ultimately forced into the fanatic minority and disrespectful as a result, a better country will be Australia.
Sadly, as a nation we still seem to be some distance from this point.
As a voter for one of the most secure Liberal-National Party seats in Australian federal politics, I constantly remember the distance ahead for those who do not subscribe to an outdated and traditional view of the love, marriage and family.
Mitchell’s so-called “honorable” member of the electorate, Alex Hawke, applauded via social media when his Mitchell “team” scored a dangerously close “victory” in the postal vote on marriage equality in 2017.
Mr Hawke acknowledged the overwhelming support for the ‘yes’ vote which saw decades of injustice righted for people who hoped to marry and become legally bound to partners they had loved in supposed sin for so long. Yet he also took to social media to congratulate his “people” for refusing to give in and for getting an effective “no” result in the North West Sydney electorate.
I invited him to my house for dinner to discuss the issue and the federal government’s position on refugee claimants. Unfortunately, it seemed like there was very little chance of that happening once he knew where I was from.
When Josh Cavallo’s statement from Adelaide United appeared in my social media feed on Wednesday afternoon, the connection between his sexuality and the microcosm of Australia I live in made me cry.
Instantly, Cavallo’s decision to announce to the Australian public and to football that he was a gay man playing at the highest level of the game was seen as brave, courageous and full of courage. How sad we are a nation if a person announcing his sexual persuasion as something other than the supposed dominant norm, is deemed to have the guts and the courage to do so.
Until such an announcement is unconditionally accepted as natural, human and perfect, the condition that it is such a courageous thing to announce will never be removed.
Cavallo was emotional, nervous and almost broken in his statement. Sometimes he cried and I cried with him.
Thousands before him never had the chance to get to the point where their natural instincts were allowed to be broadcast in this way.
Many athletes and people in general remain concerned about the ramifications of their “coming out”. They experience the endless stress of uncertainty; always fear that a statement stating who they are as a person outside of the playing field or their employment situation may well have negative ramifications for them both professionally and personally.
Cavallo and the few who came before him in men’s professional sports have smashed a glass ceiling that requires a hammer to be used quickly.
While the Matildas enjoyed an emotional return to the Australian shores this week and played a level of football worthy of the applause they received, the team’s sexuality seemed to have little impact on the emotional investment of the fans who have chosen to support them.
Everyone knows there are a lot of gay players in Matildas’ squad and frankly few seem to care. Why would they do it?
Yet the fact that a 21-year-old is reduced to tears and anxiety in 2021, when his sexuality is announced to the football world, is the saddest indictment of how far we stay. back as a company.
Perhaps the only bright spot coming from the announcement was Cavallo’s obvious emotion when he discussed the “immense support” he had received from the wider football community.
Hopefully he will have a ripping season for the Reds, enter the pitch in a wave of applause and support from home fans in his first appearance and push for a place at Olyroos during of the next year.
But also let’s hope people stop referring to her decision to advertise her sexual preference as brave or courageous. After all, it is not.
It’s just who Josh Cavallo is.