This post is also available in: Português
Coincidentally, Hornet’s Man of the Month for June is also Hornet’s soccer player of the month.
This month saw the second annual Taça Hornet de Futebol da Diversidade take place in Brazil, our own LGBTQ version of the World Cup for soccer, but, well, gayer. João Pedro de Oliveira Leote, 24, is one of the players who participated.
João is from Porto Alegre, and when he’s not playing soccer he’s studying physical therapy. We were able to sit down to chat with him, and had local Brazilian photographer Leonardo Santos shoot him on the field.
Brazil’s Hornet Man of the Month tells us his story in his own words
Since I was a child, soccer has always been part of my life. It’s funny to see one of your life’s passions being celebrated by other people. Gay soccer is growing, and it’s beautiful. Though I always played at school, at that time, I didn’t realize I was gay. (I swear!)
I don’t know if there’s anyone who hasn’t been the victim of prejudice. But we gay people end up being targets just for liking another man. I’ve suffered homophobia a few times, but maybe “suffered” isn’t the right word. I won’t ever let anyone demean who I am for being gay.
I always believed that monogamy was the only right thing for relationships. But after I observed my friends and seeing couples who don’t have much, if any, physical contact with each other, I realized there aren’t any rules for love. The only rule is to do what makes everyone involved happy, wether it’s a couple, throuple or group.
Soccer has always been my passion. Everyone who knows me knows how much time I spend on the field and how much fun I have. I really want to play soccer, and I always have. But my dream isn’t only to be a soccer player. I’m studying to be a physical therapist, so I can help other soccer players and still be involved with the sport.
My friends and family are the best people in the world. At first, they thought it was a little strange to see a gay team. They were sort of like “uh, whatever.” But then, when they found out more about the project and the backstory, they were the first to embrace it. They told me, “Wow, you’re so good!” And some of them have already joined the team and played with me.
Today, my life is all about college, soccer, my family and friends. I dropped out of the military and went to college instead. Since I’m a full-time student, my family has been supporting me by helping me pay rent. During the week, I live in Montenegro, and go home on the weekends.
Sadly, professional soccer is still homophobic. Why can’t gay people join soccer clubs? Prejudice is everywhere — in the clubs, on the street, in the media. We fought back by making teams where only gays play. If you’re gay and love soccer, don’t let these gay-only teams die!
See more pictures of Brazil’s Hornet Man of the Month below:
Be sure to follow João on Instagram.