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Top soccer ref Igor Benevenuto comes out ahead of World Cup in anti-LGBTQ Qatar

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Brazilian soccer referee Igor Benevenuto has reportedly become the first FIFA-ranked ref to come out as gay.The 41-year-old said that there are “many gay people in soccer,” and hopes to inspire closeted athletes to speak their truth.“Soccer was for men, and since an early age I knew I was gay… there was not a more perfect place to hide my sexuality,” Benevenuto told the Nos Armários dos Vestiários podcast.“I am 41, and 23 of those years have been dedicated to the whistle.

Until today I’ve never been the real me. Gays are used to not being themselves.Related: You must see this highly unusual Pride display at an Oregon soccer game“There are many gay people in soccer.

We exist and we deserve to speak about it, live normal lives.”FIFA responded in a statement via GloboEsporte, writing: “FIFA welcomes and supports referee Igor Benevenuto and his decision to come out.

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