Saturday, October 30, 2021

Why Josh Cavallo Matters



    "Does it matter when a young man who in a reasonable world shouldn't have to come out as gay does so anyhow?"


   Reasonably, that would depend entirely on the motivations underpinning whatever response follows, with murder being an outcome in many regions and territories - self-identifying as a male homosexual being especially egregious to any culture which courts homophobia to about the same degree as it seeks to reinforce extremes of male supremacy. All things are not equal within the paradigm: signalling intent to have sex with another man is quite specific, and quite specifically more dangerous.

Of course "coming out" itself in a progressive landscape has been a highly ritualized exercise in an individual's "journey" for some time now, with exactly no men of any importance - self-imagined, and otherwise - just declaring that they're looking to have sex with other men. But we've known for almost as long as the century-and-a-half of the male homosexual being specified that social forces will seek to do him damage, and usually do it quite successfully to point that the lives of few aren't severely impacted by self-doubt. Clearly, coming out has to be more than a solicitation for some kind of pity - even if it's encouraged by media which sees a victim with a sob-story as desirable reality entertainment. 

   A public coming out serves as spectacle for both the outed and the audience, and Josh Cavallo's is no exception. Interestingly, Peter FitzSimons - no doubt seeing himself as an authority on all things Queer as well as all things football - took it upon his magnanimous self to announce that homophobia is virtually over.  Cavallo's landmark achievement is only "interesting" news to him. What a guy...a non-gay man so full of himself he thinks he's entitled to invent a conclusive timeline of Queer male progress which doesn't call for more decisive action than ever! 

FitzSimons' niceness isn't all it seems and sadly we'll see more of it as non-gay men seek to nicely keep young gay men in their place...a nice twist on how it has been for far too long. In the microcosmic and indeed rarified little world of white men, "acceptance" of male homosexuals will stay conditional without our assertive and decisive claims on real power while demonstrating exemplary leadership. And that's necessarily predicated on having a clear understanding of two things: one's ability (and right) to do the job, and a realistic understanding of how we can be gaslighted by false ideas like equality having been almost achieved.

Cavallo matters because he's a unique global achiever - what's been done has well and truly been done

   Soccer (futbol) may not on face value be hyper-masculinity in sports, but in terms of its global reach the code probably encompasses the milieu better than most. The collective codes broadly known as "football" have long stood as bastions of masculinity inasmuch as they perpetuate the notion that true masculinity is a standard only achieved by non-gay men, and reinforced by a type of masculinity which equates strength of character to an aversion of homosexuality.

In the wake of Gay Lib, many footballers as well as many other male athletes have come out. But they've only come out post-career, and usually to help sell their memoirs or to just get on TV. Whatever accolades they seek need to be viewed in the context of their closeted years as much as their "bravery" in coming out. Josh Cavallo is another piece of work altogether: at 22 he's showing what male leadership is all about, as opposed to being what it's not. The support he's widely receiving needs to be viewed for what it is: recognition of a man who can take charge going forward rather than a gay who's worthy of a Certificate of Participation because he showed up. Goodwill becomes that much more meaningful and substantial when barriers are being torn down because it helps ensure those barriers will stay down. Goodwill is fundamental to an environment which nurtures high self-esteem in all who participate, and allows good psychology to effectively do its thing. 

Cavallo matters greatly because he's deodorizing the stench of Israel Folau, and because of his proactive shot across the bows of competitive male sport always will matter. More's the pity that do-gooders fail to see the disparity between how loudly the voices of Folau and Cavallo have been amplified, and their part in it. Homophobia hasn't been vanquished and will go on to fight another day in the dirtiest ways it knows how but Cavallo's unique achievement as an A-Leaguer bringing his A-game goes a long way to slowing it down.

One of the good things about a life well-lived is knowing that the consequences of the choices we make are never entirely predictable. Nobody - least of all Josh Cavallo - knows how many times he'll hear "Cocksucker!" yelled from stadium stands, or how many languages he'll hear it in. The man himself has options for how he'll experience it...perhaps he'll just smile to himself and play on better than ever with winning resolve. But more likely the audience narrative will pivot silently, with many a sports-loving man (or woman) similarly resolving that "No son of mine will ever be brought up thinking he's any less of a man for chasing cock."

All in all, the rules of the game stipulate that any player can take a goal just gotta be in the game. And Josh Cavallo is truly in the game, while leading the charge for a high self-esteem environment which will benefit more men than himself, and in more locker-rooms than he'll ever set foot in.