Refereeing was his “greatest passion,” but the abuse has been too much.
Spain’s first openly gay soccer referee has decided to quit after continuously enduring homophobic abuse from the sport’s fans.
Jesús Tomillero, 21, said being a referee has been his “greatest passion,” but that it’s not enough to continue hearing slurs shouted at him from the stands as he tries to do his job.
In one incident, Tomillero said a soccer fan shouted “You can stick the goal up your arse, you f***ing poof” after he gave a penalty during a game last Saturday, The Guardian reported. Even worse, Tomillero said the crowd of soccer supporters erupted with laughter.
Tomillero first came out as openly gay to Spain’s El Espanyol in March of last year. But as the abuse gradually got worse, Tomillero said officials from the Andalusian Football Federation did little to help, according to VICE.
He has presented a formal complaint regarding Saturday’s abusive comments, but said he will be leaving the sport regardless.
(Editor's note: This post was originally published on our media partner HuffPost Queer Voices)