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.
In the interview on YouTube with Russian blogger Vitya Kravchenko, Kasatkina said “yes” when asked if she has a girlfriend.
“Living in peace with yourself is the only thing that matters, f–k everyone else,” Kasatkina said.
“I believe it is important that influential people from sports, or any other sphere really speak about it. It is important for young people who have a hard time with society and need support.”
Kasatkina added that she believes that “living in the closet” would not be sustainable long-term. “There is no point, it would always be going round in your head, until you say something. Obviously, each person decides how to open up and how much,” Kasatkina said.
Soon after the interview was released, Kasatkina posted a picture on Instagram of her embracing Olympic silver medallist figure skater Natalia Zabiiako with a heart emoji and called Zabiiako “my cutie pie” in a Twitter post. Zabiiako, who won her Olympic medal with the Russian team in 2018, posted the same picture on Instagram, also with a heart.
Bu gönderiyi Instagram’da gör
Since 2013, Russian law has forbidden any discussion of LGBTI+ relationships which is deemed to constitute “promotion of non-traditional sexual relations” to minors. That has restricted LGBTI+ advocacy or protest in public forums.
There is an effort by Russian lawmakers to broaden this law with a complete ban on “promotion” of LGBTI+ relationships in a positive or neutral light and on showing LBGTQ content in cinemas.
Kasatkina calls for end to war in Ukraine
The 25-year-old Kasatkina is ranked 12th in the world and lives and trains in Spain, where the interview was filmed. In the interview, she also calls for an end to fighting in Ukraine.
“For the war to end,” Kasatkina said when asked what she wants most in life, and describes the conflict as a “complete nightmare.”
Russian authorities insist that the conflict is not referred to as a “war,” but a “special military operation,” and criticism of the war or the Russian military can be punished with fines or prison time.
Kasatkina is shown in the video crying when asked if she fears she may not be able to return to Russia after her comments in the interview.