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Australian footballer Josh Cavallo has spoken out against homophobia after receiving death threats and hateful messages on social media.

The 24-year-old Adelaide United defender, who publicly came out as gay in 2021, recently shared disturbing comments he received on Instagram, highlighting the ongoing struggle against LGBTQ+ discrimination in sports.

In a heartfelt post on Instagram, Cavallo expressed his commitment to using his platform to empower individuals worldwide, advocating for acceptance and comfort in one’s identity. Despite progress in football and the LGBTQIA+ community, he emphasised the significant work that remains.

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Cavallo’s statement in 2023 underscores the harmful impact of such bigotry, calling attention to the daily reminders of hate he endures, even two years after his coming-out journey. His experience is a stark reminder of the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ athletes and individuals globally.

The young footballer has been vocal about homophobia in the past, particularly criticising FIFA’s decision to host the 2022 men’s World Cup in Qatar, where homosexuality is criminalised. His outspokenness led to a $5,000 fine imposed on Melbourne Victory, an A-League rival team after their fans directed homophobic slurs at him. Football Australia praised Cavallo for his bravery in addressing this inappropriate conduct.

Cavallo’s resilience in the face of such adversity is inspiring. He firmly states that he will never apologise for living his truth and emphasises that hate will never triumph. His message is clear: football is an inclusive sport, welcoming individuals regardless of their background or identity.

Ending his message, Cavallo encouraged young queer people to remain proud and persistent in pursuing their dreams. He also urged social media platforms to take more robust action in protecting LGBTQ+ users from hateful and harmful content. His call to action highlights the need for greater responsibility and responsiveness from social media companies in combating online hate and discrimination.


Being bullied or harassed because of your sexuality, sex characteristics, or gender identity is not okay. Often, bullies feel more confident online, so it’s important to shut down harmful behaviour early and make sure they don’t start targeting other people, too.

It’s common for people who are being bullied or harassed online to feel isolated or alone, but there is support available to help.

  • Netsafe – Text ‘Netsafe’ to 4282, call 0508 NETSAFE (0508 638 723), email help@netsafe.org.nz or report online. 
  • OutLine – 0800 OUTLINE (0800 688 5463) | outline.org.nz/chat | OutLine provides a free and confidential LGBTQIA+ helpline and online chat support service between 6pm-9pm every day.
  • RainbowYOUTH –  (09) 376 4155 or email info@ry.org.nz | Rainbow Youth is an advocacy and support service for queer and gender diverse (LGBTQIA+) youth.
  • Youthline – Call 0800 376 633, Free TXT 234 or email talk@youthline.co.nz | Youthline provides a free counselling service for young people.
  • Lifeline – Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 TAUTOKO (0508 828 865) | A free 24-hour suicide crisis helpline operated by trained counsellors.
  • Intersex Awareness New Zealand – http://www.ianz.org.nz/ | Provides information and education to support intersex people and their families.
  • Shine – 0508 744 633 | A free helpline to provide support to people who have been victims of family violence.
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