Spain's first openly gay football referee is under police protection after receiving death threats, following his return to professional refereeing, according to The Telegraph.
Last year, Jesús Tomillero came out by posting a photo of himself with his boyfriend on Instagram alongside a caption that read: “This is where my happiness starts.”
But he quit the game in May this year
after experiencing what he described as "humiliating" homophobia
" - including being called "the fag referee" - from other football clubs, as well as fans.
Following widespread publicly and support, Tomillero eventually decided to return to football. However, on his second day back at Andalusia's second division he was subjected to more homophobia.
n Saturday (September 10), he was told to "retire you fag" by a supporter after he awarded a penalty during a match between CD Lasalle and Atletico Zabal, El Espanol newspaper reports.
"I told the match delegate that I would suspend the match until the man was removed. He was expelled, but he came back and kept on insulting me," Tomillero said.
Following the game's end, he relayed the incident to his Twitter followers, which led to him receiving death threats online.
One read "You son of a b***h. You messed with the club. We’ll kill you with Aids, you f***ot," while another person sent him a photo of a corpse with the message, "The bosses are not pleased, they don't like f***ots on their pitches, retire or die."
The 21-tear-old also received a message featuring a photo of a gun, with the words, "faggot, you won't live long."
Tomillero says he experienced a "fit of nerves, and didn't know what to do," so reported the messages to the police.
"They’re investigating the case, not just here but all over Spain," he explained. "There are police officers outside my house 24 hours a day, but I’m still afraid and I don’t know what could happen.”
Despite the harassment, Tomillero is adamant that he'll stay in the job.
"I’m going to keep on doing what I like doing, whatever it costs,” he said. “But I am really, really scared."
Shock as British grammar school gives pupils spectacularly homophobic maths question
Nyle DiMarco discusses sexuality and changing deaf lives in Attitude’s October issue