Jesús Tomillero (La Línea de la Concepción, 1994) made history in 2015 by becoming the first referee in Europe to declare himself homosexual. Now retired, he views with indignation the celebration of a World Cup in a country where being gay is punishable by up to ten years in jail.
How are you living this World Cup?
It is unfortunate that it is in Qatar, a country where they put you in jail, or even kill you, for being part of the collective. This is not doing us any favours. Then they wonder why there are no gay soccer players. Many of the athletes are but do not say it out of fear. Playing a World Cup in Qatar, the doors are being closed to any athlete saying that he is LGTBI.
Is football still a not very inclusive space?
I had to retire for publicly saying I was gay and received more than 1,500 death threats. We were making progress in this aspect, but taking a World Cup to a country like this, or with things like Iker Casillas' tweet, you can see that we are not making as much progress.
Is women's football an exception?
I wish men's soccer was a reflection of women's. It has worked how it had to work, it has that diversity and respect that the masculine does not have.
Which footballer would you sign for one of your awareness campaigns?
A Cristiano Ronaldo would be fine for an advertisement against LGTBIphobia. Much has been said about his sexual orientation and I think that the fact that a figure like him, with so many followers, would support the collective would help a lot.