Russian tennis player Daria Kasatkina came out as gay on Tuesday morning, declaring that it was “impossible” to live in the closet.
Kasatkina is the No. 1 ranked women’s player in Russia and the world No. 12 currently. She announced the news in a YouTube interview with Russian vlogger Vitya Kravchenko, telling him that “Living in peace with yourself is the only thing that matters, fuck everyone else.”
She confirmed she had a girlfriend before voicing her fears about Russia’s taboo culture regarding non-heteronormative ideals. The Russian athlete spoke about her fears that it would “never be OK” to be gay in her country. When asked when it would be acceptable to hold hands in public with a same-sex partner in Russia, she responded “Never.”
Kasatkina posted a photo to Instagram embracing her girlfriend Russian figure skater Natalia Zabiiako with a love heart in the caption.
Homophobic Laws In Russia
Russia is known for a slate of deeply homophobic laws and for attacks against LGBTQI people. The existing Russian “gay propaganda” law, which first passed in 2013, has been used to reduce access to support services for LGBTQI youth, stop gay pride marches and repress the community.
Kasatkina’s public announcement of her sexuality adds an element of risk after Russian politicians proposed extending a ban on the promotion of “non-traditional” sexual relationships to minors, to include adults as well.
Head of the State Duma’s (The Federal Assembly of Russian Parliament) information committee, Alexander Khinshtein said, “We propose to generally extend the ban on such propaganda regardless of the age of the audience (offline, in the media, on the internet, social networks and online cinemas),” via his Telegram social media channel last week.
Importance of Public Figures Coming Out
Kasatkina asserted the importance of influential people from sports and other realms to speak about their sexuality and be comfortable with being open while under the public eye. She said that public figures would be able to help “young people who have a hard time with society and need support.”
The tennis player said that she was inspired by Russian football star Nadya Karpova, who came out as gay earlier this year.
“My respects to Nadya Karpova. I was happy for her, but also other people, especially girls who needed to know that. Not only did Nadya help herself by coming out and get this burden off her chest, but she has also helped others.”
Aussie tennis legend and commentator Rennae Stubbs responded to Kasatkina’s photo and wrote “QTs” with a love heart emoji, while American tennis player Amanda Anisimova also commented a love heart emoji with clapping hands.
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