Written by Staff Writer Staff Writer
Updated 7 January 2018 10:20 p.m. ET
Australian Rules Football (AFL) player Josh Cavallo has become the first openly gay athlete to announce he is gay.
The 28-year-old Victorian also told The Australian newspaper in an interview released on Friday that he has no plans to retire from the game.
Cavallo’s announcement comes after major action in sport in the United States. Last year, US athletes Adam Rippon, Coyne Johnson and Matthew Mitcham won gold, silver and bronze in figure skating. And tennis player Billie Jean King is spearheading an effort to persuade American pro athletes to speak out about LGBT rights.
“It’s important for our community to be out and proud,” Cavallo told The Australian. “It’s a big part of who I am and it would be selfish of me not to be. I’d think I’d be selfish to walk away from a sport that I love while I have that opportunity.”
Cavallo, who comes from the soccer-mad state of Victoria, said he has been “partying a lot” and was the subject of abuse when he disclosed his sexuality last year.
But he said being open about his sexuality made him feel more comfortable on the field.
“I would rather not be worried about these people jeering,” he said. “It’s part of the deal I signed up for, being out and proud.