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Laura del Río (Madrid, 1982): Laura is a professional, spanish football player who played in Bristol Academy of the British Women’s Football League. She played with them from 2012 until 2015 when she had a serious injury that resulted in a broken fibula and kept her away from football for 15 months. In 2016, after her return to Spain and her recovery, she began to play in the CD Tacón in the Women’s Football Second Division after which she seeks to enter the First Division. She is currently vice president of the “Comité de Fútbol Femenino de Asociación de Futbolistas Españoles (AFE).”

Laura began her career in 1999 in the “Agrupación Deportiva de Torrejón de Ardoz” and in 2002, was transferred to “Levante UD de Valencia”. In her two season in “Levante” she won two super leagues and two Queens cups. She also spent two seasons in “CE Sabadell”, but later went back to “Levante” where she stayed for the next four years, winning the 2008 Super League and the 2005 and 2007 Queens Cups. Later, she played in the second division of “FC Indiana” (a US women’s football team)and in the women’s Bundesliga in “FFC Frankfurt”, only to then return to the United States and play in the First Division with the “ Boston Breakers” and then “Philadelphia Independence”. She came out of the closet while she was playing in the US, and spoke of her relationship with her girlfriends, Nikki.

Laura scored the most goals of the “Campeonato Europeo Femenino Sub-18 de la UEFA” in 2000, when spain won 4th place.

She has played 40 matched and scored 39 goals in the senior team. Since 2009, she has not been called to the team due to a clash with the selection manager.

“We have to remember that most managers are very old people with backward mentalities loaded with prejudice. Because they hold prejudice. And even though they deny it, the closed door tells you: ‘Yes you are, be quiet. If you are, don’t say it’ ”

“A soccer player in Spain is cared. Scared of public opinion. Scared of the football club and that they’ll be thrown out of it. Scared that all the media attention will destroy their career.”

“Football continues to be seen as a man’s game. People believe that a football player has to be manly. Gay people are considered feminine and not embodying the masculinity that is associated with football.”

Lola Gallardo (Sevilla, 1993): Gallardo is the goalie of the [Spanish] National football team and now plays on the First Division in the “CDE Atlético de Madrid de Féminas”. Before, she played on the “Sevilla FC” and the “Sporting de Huelva”. In 2010, she was named the best player of the European Championship U-17, and the best goalkeeper of the U-17 World Cup.

Didac Chavero (Barcelona, 1997): In 2016 on the youtube interview with “The Triplez”, Chavero became the first Spanish footballer in the Second Division to publicly come out of the closet. The “Martorell FC” player then retired in 2017 for personal and education motives, although he did not reject the idea of returning to football in the future.

Jesús Tomillero (La Línea de la Concepción-Cádiz, 1994): In 2015, Tomillero became the first Spanish collegiate football referee to come out of the closet. After his declaration, he reported having received all types of insults and aggressions on the field, and death threats on social media. He refereed in the third divisions cadet in the Province of Cadiz.

On the 26 March 2017, Tomillero was seriously insulted by a player and by the person in charge of “Peña Madridista Linense ‘B’” during a third division cadet game against “El Mirador C.D S.M.”. The field delegate did not expel the field material manager, even though he should have remained in the locker room. Later Tomillero was threatened and intimidated in the locker room. The penalties imposed by the Real Andalucian Football Federation  were, according to him, “absolutely useless”. Due to this occurrence and similar ones that took place during a category two “Andaluza Juvenil”, Tomillero left refereeing in May 2016. However, he later returned due to the support he received. He still received new threats on the field and social media, and he claims not having the support of the Real Andalusian Football Federation or the Real Spanish Football Federation.

In 2016, Tomillero founded “Roja Directa LGBTI” to combat homophobia in the sport. He received various prizes and recognitions for his promotion of diversity. Now, he works in the reception of a hostel in Algeciras and plays friendly matches while waiting to be accepted in the League of Gibraltar due to “impediments” he is encountering in Spain in order to return to refereeing.

Juan Antonio Alcalá (Spain): In June 2015, the sports journalist Juan Antonio Alcalá cae out of the closet during an interview in the supplement section of the daily newspaper, “El Mundo”, before beginning a new career in the chain “COPE”.

“The more visible it becomes, the more tolerant and decent the society will become.”

“If an elite athlete came out of the closet, they would become a example that would help a lot of people, they would be well perceived by the society, and would, therefore, be a source of attraction for marketing.”

Itaro Antxia (Portugal, 1981): In April 2016, she became the first transexual woman to play an official match of women’s indoor soccer in the “Leioa Maia” team.

Antixa, who was married to a woman, began the process of sex reassignment two years ago and confesses that the journey “long, hard at times, but above all long”.

Antixa is a computer scientist and a resident in the Portuguese town of Vizcaya. She stressed that she has always had the support of her family and her friends in football.

“You have to try. If you stay waiting for something to happen, it will not happen.”

“I am going to achieve my dream of playing sports where I want to; enjoy a right that took a lot of effort to achieve.”

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