Richarlyson, a former Brazil international, came out as bisexual on a podcast titled 'Nos Armarios dos Vestiarios'. The 39-year-old, who currently works as a pundit for SporTV stated that he has had relationships with women and men as well.
In revealing his sexual identity, he became the first player to have represented the Brazilian national team to come out as bisexual. He is also the first player to have played in the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A to openly say that he is bisexual.
'Nos Armarios dos Vestiarios', which roughly translates to 'In the Locker Rooms' in English, is a podcast that talks about homophobia and machismo within various spaces of football.
Richarlyson said that being bisexual does not make him different. He added that he has opened up now as he wants to see some changes in the Brazilian culture regarding homosexuality.
He told 'Nos Armarios dos Vestiarios' (via Daily Mail):
"All my life I was asked whether I was gay or not"
"I had relationships with men and I had relationships with women, too."
"I am normal, I have wishes and desire. I dated men, I date women. So what?"
"There is a more important issue, there are people dying, Brazil is the country that kills the most homosexuals."
Speaking of homosexuality remains a taboo in Brazil, which is a dangerous place for LGBT+ people. As per Statista, there were 300 violent deaths faced by members of the LGBT+ community in 2021.
Former Brazil midfielder Richarlyson faced harassment during his playing years due to his sexual orientation
The former Sao Paulo midfielder also spoke about the occasion when his former Palmeiras coach Jose Cyrillo Junior stated publicly that Richarlyson was gay. Jose Cyrillo later issued a public apology for his hurtful statement (as per O Globo).
The player won one Copa do Brasil, two Campeonato Mineiros, three consecutive Brazilian Serie A titles, one Copa Libertadores, and the Club World Cup. However, he only made two appearances for the Selecao.
He was named the best player for the 2007 Serie A campaign, winning the Bola de Ouro award. But due to his sexuality, he never received the praise and recognition he deserved later in his career.
He said on the podcast that he felt it was important for him to speak out in public about the issue of his sexuality now. He said (according to The Daily Mail):
"So many people say it is important that I stand up, so I decided to say it today. I am bisexual.”
Most of the clubs from Brasileiro Serie A came out in his support on Twitter. We can only hope that his decision will inspire others to come forward.