Ok, so we use the word champion a lot here at TEAMM8, but in the case of our M8 of January, well, it’s an understatement. Consider several regional and provincial titles as well as South American title holder with Pumitas (the under 20’s national team) and Argentina’s champion with Rosario. I mean, c’mon, need we say more.
From smalltown boy to rugby star, Vito Rosti was destined for a career in the full contact sport. Although he started playing at age 9, his physical advantage started to really show as he entered his teens and his place in the Argentinian Rugby world firmly cemented.
Vito’s story starts with his illustrious career in the sport he loved so much but although he quit, arguably due to his sexuality in a macho male dominated sport and country, he is excited and ready for the new chapter in his life. And that, to us, is the true definition of a champion!
- Hola Vito! You are multiple champion of rugby in Argentina, congratulations! What is your best memory about this period?
What I remember most dearly are the trips we used to make with the whole team around the country playing nationals. We would travel for the entire weekend and play in beautiful places. The same when traveling with Argentina’s u20s. Playing in amazing stadiums against the future of rugby.
- One thing you had to face during your rugbyman career is the discovery of your sexuality. What is it to grow up in a very chauvinist environment while being gay?
It’s actually really exhausting. I remember being very distracted by my thoughts on how not to look gay on the field. That for sure lowered my performance many times. There’s a figure of how the ‘macho argentino’ must look and act like. The macho must be strong, show no weakness, fear nothing, dress in a certain way and not give a damn about what people think, which is so unreal and sets a very toxic standard for men in general.
- How did you protect yourself from people’s hate at that young age?
I put in a lot of thought in accepting myself as I am. Embracing my feminine side as well as seeing that my masculine side did not make me more powerful just because. It’s the combination of both that makes us strong.
- Take us through the moment when you had enough to fake it with your team players? How did that happen?
I did not get to the point where I told all my teammates. Nevertheless many of them knew. I told one of my friends, drunk at a party once and then some other friends later on due to that moment.
But I knew everyone already knew because after a semi final I got called on on twitter, and my team’s captain defended me. They had posted something like ‘be careful if you drop the soap around rosti in the showers’ lol and he said something like ‘don’t worry, that’s ours to enjoy, don’t feel jelous’. Something like that I don’t remember exactly.
- Your coming out was done publicly. How was the overall reaction? Did it interact with your career?
When my coming out was done publicly I had already quit playing. However my sexuality was one of the reasons I did so. The reaction was great, I got lots of messages from teammates, coaches, supporters. I really made a positive impact. I guess had I not quit playing it would have not interfered with my career.
- Sport and Inclusion is a big topic. What would have facilitate your young-self as a rugby player?
Seeing myself represented in the high spheres of rugby would have made my way much easier. No one really wants to be the first at being different. Who knows, maybe I’d still be playing.
- What advice do you have for other LGBTQ+ individuals who are involved in sports and may be hesitant to come out due to concerns about acceptance or discrimination?
I’d say you do it. If you get a bad response, change clubs until you feel comfortable in one. I sometimes regret having quit rugby, but I have never regretted coming out of the closet.
- Tell us about your current projects? What can we wish you for this new year?
Currently, I’m working as an engineer in an important company where the possibilities for growth are enormous. Im also playing hockey with some friends once a week while still training every day. My new year comes with hope and courage, ready to face new challenges and keep growing.