He’s Spain’s only openly gay football referee, a job he temporarily left after being besieged with homophobic death threats in May.
Unfortunately, the situation has hardly improved since his return.
On September 10, 21-year-old Jesús Tomillero was refereeing a game between Atlético Zabal and CD Lasalle in Andalusía’s second division when a Lasalle fan told him to “get off for being gay” after he awarded a penalty to the competing team.
Though the game was stopped and the heckler removed, the man still managed to yell “You fucking faggot!” at Tomillero before being escorted out.
Shortly after the match, the death threats on social media began pouring in.
“You son of a bitch,” read one. “You messed with the wrong club. We’ll kill you with Aids, you faggot.”
Another message featured a photo of handguns and bullets, and the caption, “Not long left to live, faggot.”
Talking to The Guardian, Tomillero said, “I go the first one about three o’clock yesterday afternoon. It said: ‘Reporting this was a mistake, Jesús. The boss has put a price on your head.’ There was a picture of a gun and a car and it said: ‘Get ready for what’s coming, faggot.’”
He’s stunned by the abuse.
“I had a fit of nerves and didn’t know what to do. But we got into a taxi and went to the police. They’re investigating the case, not just here but all over Spain. There are police officers outside my house 24 hours a day, but I’m still afraid and I don’t know what could happen.”“I’m going to keep on doing what I like doing, whatever it costs. But I am really, really scared.”
In May, Tomillero called it quits because the onslaught of abuse simply became too much to take.
The worst offense was when a heckler shouted, “That’s that poof who was on the telly … You can stick the goal up your arse, you fucking poof.”
What hurt Tomillero more than the insult was the fact that the crowd laughed.
Three years ago, a survey concluded that Spain was the most accepting European country when it came to homosexuality, but prejudice is still a huge problem there
In fact, in Madrid there’s a homophobic attack every two days.