Australian footballer Josh Cavallo has been met with a wave of celebrity support after he came out as gay.
The 21-year-old Adelaide United player shared an emotional video and post in which he opened up about his sexuality on Wednesday.
He said it was “astonishing to know there are no gay professional footballers who are out and actively playing” and that he wanted to show “others who identify as LGBTQ+ that they are welcome in the football community”.
As the world celebrated his news in what is a huge step forward in the footballing world, the likes of former players Gary Lineker and Rio Ferdinand and other celebrities including RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Courtney Act showed their support online.
Match Of The Day host Gary tweeted: “It’s absurd that coming out is a brave thing to do in football. It is though, and I’m full of admiration for Josh for treading a path hopefully many others will follow.
“I’m sure the overwhelming majority of football lovers will support him and erase the fear others may have.”
Rio said Josh’s coming out video was “strength and bravery personified”.
Noting how Josh is the only current gay male professional footballer in the world, Courtney said: “Welcome @JoshuaCavello!”
Josh also tweeted that Lil Nas X had shown him support on Instagram.
It’s absurd that coming out is a brave thing to do in football. It is though, and I’m full of admiration for Josh for treading a path hopefully many others will follow. I’m sure the overwhelming majority of football lovers will support him and erase the fear others may have. https://t.co/iDvg67qN7s
— Gary Lineker 💙 (@GaryLineker) October 27, 2021
— Courtney Act (@courtneyact) October 27, 2021
Strength & bravery personified here.
— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) October 27, 2021
— Josh Cavallo (@JoshuaCavallo) October 27, 2021
Well done, Josh. All real football fans will be happy for you & very admiring of your guts in doing this.
Anyone who has a problem with it or wants to taunt you about your sexuality is not a real football fan.. or anyone worth bothering about. https://t.co/OkbXMNBpV9
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) October 27, 2021
Huge respect to Josh for doing this. It’s courageous and shares an important message that everyone deserves to be themselves no matter what. https://t.co/f3KEr5Pjxp
— Jordan Henderson (@JHenderson) October 27, 2021
This must have taken much courage, Josh. You have my full support!! 💪🏾 https://t.co/sJDTd2JFmD
— Raphaël Varane (@raphaelvarane) October 27, 2021
I’m so happy for you, @JoshuaCavallo, and I really admire your decision in coming forward to speak about your sexuality. The strength this requires is incredible and I’m sure it will inspire so many young people who are currently living a "double life". Well done ❤️ https://t.co/6KKaW3UEBJ
— Magdalena Eriksson (@MagdaEricsson) October 27, 2021
A number of British clubs and football associations also showed their support for John on their social channels...
Thank you @JoshuaCavallo for your strength and bravery...
🏳️🌈 You are an inspiration to millions
🏳️⚧️ Everyone deserves the right to be themselves
The world of football is a better place today, because of you ❤️ https://t.co/bdUtBpzmHv
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) October 27, 2021
— Wrexham AFC (@Wrexham_AFC) October 27, 2021
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) October 27, 2021
Thank you for sharing your story with the world, @JoshuaCavallo.
Your bravery and courage to come out and share your truth is an inspiration to us all. English football is with you. https://t.co/n3CIeF7K9d
— The FA (@FA) October 27, 2021
You have paved the way and we admire your leadership, Josh.
All of Sunderland is with you… 🏳️🌈❤️🤍 https://t.co/fPYbH4Z5KU
— Sunderland AFC (@SunderlandAFC) October 27, 2021
— Barclays FA Women's Super League (@BarclaysFAWSL) October 27, 2021
— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) October 27, 2021
The British LGBT Awards also took a moment on social media to celebrate and remember the legacy of late former player Justin Fashanu, who was the first openly gay professional footballer as well as the first Black footballer to command a £1 million transfer fee.
It is important to also remember the legacy of Justin Fashanu this #BlackHistoryMonth . Justin was Britain's first one billion pound Black player and the world's first openly gay professional footballer, with a career spanning 19 years.
— British LGBT Awards (@BritLGBTAwards) October 27, 2021
In his post, Josh – who currently plays as left-back and central midfielder for A-League Men’s side Adelaide United – said: “Being a gay closeted footballer, I’ve had to learn to mask my feeling in order to fit the mould of a professional footballer.
“Growing up being gay and playing football were just two worlds that hadn’t crossed paths before.
“In football, you only have a small window to achieve greatness, and coming out publicly may have a negative impact on a career.
“As a gay footballer, I know there are other players living in silence.
“I want to help change this, to show that everyone is welcome in the game of football, and deserves the right to be their authentic self.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.