Igor Benevenuto: in football «there are referees, players, coaches, married, with children... with a double life«
Igor Benevenuto, the first referee of FIFA in declaring himself homosexual, he said in an interview with Der Spiegel that in the world of football between 30 and 40 percent of its protagonists are homosexual or bisexual. «Let's take into account all the people involved in football: officials, coaches, players and referees. Between 30 and 40 percent are homosexual o bisexual, or have done something at some point with another man«, declared the Brazilian referee in the German newspaper.
"You would be surprised to know who is homosexual in the football industry," said the referee, who has finally not entered the list of referees for the VAR in the Qatar World Cup.
In an interview he gave to the podcast «In the locker room cabinets" of the group Globe the referee already said that «There are referees, players, coaches, married, with children, separated, with a double life, there is everything. We exist and we deserve the right to talk about this, to live normally«.
blessed denounced that he has suffered prejudice in Brazil for his sexual condition and explains that «in Brazil, homosexuality is seen as a disease similar to alcoholism, which can be overcome«. «I believed it for years. I suffered from depression and went through dark times. I used to pray to God to get rid of this disease. Unfortunately there are still prejudices“, he acknowledges in the interview. «I don't expect the situation to change completely in my lifetime. But I can still be a drop in the ocean of changeHe reflected.
Igor Benevenuto, first FIFA referee to come out as gay
En July 2022 Igor Benevenuto told in the aforementioned podcast «I am gay, I am attracted to men and soccer is a sport in which I grew up and which I came to hate because I couldn't stand the environment full of machismo and prejudice. That's why, in order to survive, I invented a false version of myself. I can finally be myself, a normal person«.
Born in the state of Minas Gerais and raised in a religious family, blessed He is 41 years old and has been a judge for 23 years on the pitch. He is part of the elite Brazilian referees, being one of the country's representatives in the FIFA referees panel.
blessed he said he grew uphating deeply» football and that he spent his whole life «sacrificing" what it is "to protect themselves from the physical and emotional violence of homophobia«. «He lived isolated, a sad boy, with a hole in his heart“, he recounted remembering his childhood, in which, as he confessed, he played the role of “Heterosexual", condition "mandatory" to be a "kind of football«. «Soccer was a 'man' thing and from early on I already knew I was gay. There was no more perfect place to hide my sexuality. Playing was not a lasting option, so I went for the only possible path: I became a referee.«Explained
«Being a referee puts me in a position of power that I needed. Did I choose it to hide my sexuality? Yes. But it is more than that. I positioned myself as the owner of the party, the type of authority, and that automatically refers to a figure of strength, full of masculinity"He explained. blessed stressed that there ismany» homosexual people in the world of football, but that the «99,99% are inside the closet«. «There are referees, players, coaches, married, with children, separated, with a double life... There is everything (...) We exist and deserve the right to talk about this, to live normally«, he claimed.