Australian footballer—soccer in the United States—and star athlete Josh Cavallo came out as gay in an emotional video that's been viewed 4.8 million times.
The video was posted to the official Adelaide United Twitter account with the simple caption, "Josh's truth."
Cavallo started with soft piano underscoring his words.
"There's something personal that I need to share with everyone: I'm a footballer, and I am gay."
"Growing up, I always felt the need to hide myself, because I was ashamed.
"I was ashamed I'd never be able to do what I love, and be gay."
"Hiding who I truly am to pursue a dream I always wished for as a kid."
"All I want to do is play football and be treated equally."
"I'm tired of trying to perform at the best of your ability and to live this double life. It's exhausting.
"It's something that I don't want anyone to experience."
Cavallo—who also represented Australia at the junior level—thought people would think of him differently and treat him differently if he came out as gay.
"But that's not the case."
"If anything, you earn more respect from people."
"Coming out to my loved ones, my peers, my friends, my teammates, my coaches has been incredible."
"The response and support I have received is immense — it's starting to make me think, 'Why have I been hiding this burden for so long?'"
Cavallo wanted to encourage those who are struggling to come out.
"Don't act like someone you're not."
"Be yourself. You were meant to be yourself, not someone else."
Researcher Erik Denison at Monash University looked into athletes coming out in sport on an international scale. He hopes Cavallo's public coming out will encourage others in the sport to come out as well.
Denison noted Cavallo is only the fourth Australian man to come out as gay while playing any sport at the elite level.
"Unfortunately, it is very rare for male players to come out to their teammates in both professional and amateur sport."
"I am glad to see Football Australia has publicly supported Cavallo, but it now needs to fulfil the public commitments it made in 2014 to 'eradicate' homophobia from the sport with meaningful action."
Cavallo told Australia's 10 television network he should have been celebrating the end of the last season and an award he received. But it was what he didn't feel that prompted Cavallo to go public before the start of the season.
"There was lots of positivity happening in my life. But when I got home, I just felt numb. I had no emotions."
"My life was great, but it wasn't a life where I got to be my authentic self."
"Instead of celebrating, I sat in my bed crying that night."
"Having to constantly lie to the people I cared about wasn't the way I wanted to live the rest of my life."
"My double life started to have a huge influence on my mental health."
"Although the football was amazing, I still wasn't happy."
He made a post on his own Twitter account as well.
Cavallo want's to change the game for gay footballers.
"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."
He received thousands of comments from fans supporting his coming out.
Cavallo said he has been struggling with his sexuality for the past six years but he can finally say out loud he is proud to be a gay footballer.