Josh Cavallo has been putting in the work to advocate for LGBTQ+ people in the world of sports.
When Cavallo came out as gay in October 2021, he made history becoming the first top-tier professional soccer player to do so. Since then, he’s been making his voice heard and advocating for queer athletes who are still fearful of coming out of the closet. For instance, just last year, Cavallo wasn’t afraid to speak up against the 2022 World Cup being held in Qatar, a country where being gay is still illegal.
In an interview with Out, Cavallo talks about his journey between watching the first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under on television and becoming a guest judge in the third season.
“I was like, ‘Oh, this is Australian. It’s Drag Race. This is cool,’” he tells Out. “RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under is absolutely phenomenal. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and experience, and it’s something that just went so quickly. It’s [something] so different to my industry. I wake up, go to the gym, go to training, go to recovery. Then I sleep and repeat that again. It was really nice to wake up and see the Drag Race queens all embrace themselves. All love and support each other, and show their talent on the world stage. I felt at home.”
Interestingly enough, Cavallo was a judge during the makeover episode of Drag Race Down Under season three, where queens have to mentor people to find their inner drag queen. “I mentor thousands of people across the world in all different sports, industries, and workplaces that feel like they can’t be themselves,” he explains.
“When I was younger and I wasn’t out, I didn’t trust anyone. I didn’t trust a therapist. I didn’t trust someone in my family. I kept it all internal. So to see all these people reach out and want to ask about my experience… they ask what they can do on their journeys, and [I say] it’s your own journey to go through. There’s no rush. Some people are ready to come out now. Some people are ready to come out tomorrow. Some people want to come out in a year. Some people don’t want to come out at all.”
Even though out LGBTQ+ athletes have been paving the way for the world of sports to become more inclusive – hopefully sooner rather than later – Cavallo acknowledges that there’s still a lot of work to do and a long way to go.
“It's a work in progress,” he says. “When I came out, there was so much unknown because no one’s ever done it before in the space of top-tier football. I didn’t know if I would be returning to my team, or if I would have a contract. I didn’t know what the circumstances would be.”
Cavallo adds, “Unfortunately, there are countries where the LGBTQ+ community is criminalized, and we do have life-threatening issues in these countries with huge soccer fanatics. Hate does come [our way] a lot, and me being the first professional gay footballer, I know that this is going to come my way. Is it acceptable? Absolutely not. But I want to pave the way for the next Josh, for the next kid to come through and feel like they can pick up a football and play with their team, no matter what their sexuality is. I’m doing it for that little kid.”
Watch Out’s full interview with Josh Cavallo below – and make sure to watch RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under season three now streaming on WOW Presents Plus.
Josh Cavallo Talks ‘Drag Race Down Under’ & Being His Authentic Self …