Daria Kasatkina comes out as gay and speaks out against Russian attitudes

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The Guardian

Daria Kasatkina, Russia’s highest-ranked female tennis player, has come out as gay in a video interview posted online on Monday.

The current world No 12 told Russian blogger Vitya Kravchenko that she is in a relationship with a woman and found “living in the closet” impossible. Kasatkina, who is not currently based in Russia, also posted pictures on Instagram with her girlfriend, the figure skater Natalia Zabiiako.

The 25-year-old also spoke out against attitudes towards homosexuality and restrictions on LGBTQ+ rights in Russia. “So many subjects are taboo in Russia,” Kasatkina said. “This notion of someone wanting to be gay or becoming [gay] is ridiculous. I think there is nothing easier in this world than being straight.”

“Seriously, if there is a choice, no one would choose being gay. Why make your life harder, especially in Russia? What’s the point?” she added. Russia’s existing “gay propaganda” law, passed in 2013, has been used to stop gay pride marches and detain gay rights activists.

Russian lawmakers have recently met to discuss making the law even stricter, including extending the ban on the “promotion” of “non-traditional” sexual relationships to minors to include adults as well.

In her interview, which was filmed in Barcelona, Kasatkina expressed fears that she would “never” be able to hold her girlfriend’s hand in Russia. “Living in the closet is impossible. It is too hard, it is pointless,” she added. “Living in peace with yourself is the only thing that matters, and fuck everyone else.”

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Kasatkina added she was inspired to come out after the Russian footballer Nadya Karpova revealed she was gay last month. “Not only did Nadya help herself by coming out and get this burden off her chest, she has also helped others,” Kasatkina added.

“I believe it is important that influential people from sports, or any other sphere really, speak about it,” Kasatkina, a semi-finalist at this year’s French Open, added. “It is important for young people who have a hard time with society and need support.”

Kasatkina’s Instagram pictures with Zabiiako, who was born in Estonia but now competes for Canada in figure skating, drew a positive response. “I’m so PROUD! @kasatkina you go giiiiirl!!!” wrote Karpova in response, while US tennis player Amanda Anisimova also posted her support.

July 19, 2022 at 04:29AM Reuters and Guardian sport

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