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Russian tennis star Daria Kasatkina has criticised her country’s attitudes towards homosexuality while coming out as gay in a video posted online.
The world number 12 also took to Instagram to post a picture with her girlfriend, Russian-Estonian figure skater Natalia Zabiako, with her bravery applauded in the comments.
She spoke to Russian blogger Vitya Kravchenko in a video posted on YouTube earlier this week, where she revealed she had found ‘living in the closet’ impossible.
Kasatkina said: “So many subjects are taboo in Russia.
“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?”
Russia’s law against ‘gay propaganda’ has been around since 2013 and has prohibited pride marches and seen gay rights activists detained.
However, Kasatkina’s news comes in the wake of further laws being proposed by Russian deputies to ban information on all non-traditional relationships in the public sphere.
Kasatkina continued: “Living in the closet is impossible.
“Not for the long run, no. It is too hard. It is pointless, you will be completely focused on that until you choose to come out. Of course, it is up to you to decide how to do it and how much you tell.
“Living in peace with yourself is the only thing that matters, and f**k everyone else.”
The current Russian number one singles player noted that she feared she would never be able to hold Zabiako’s hand in public.
Zabiako won a silver medal at the 2018 Olympic games while representing Russia, however, moved to represent Canada in May 2022 in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine.
Kasatkina’s decision to come out has been supported by the likes of American player Amanda Anisimova, Australian Daira Saville, and Russian footballer Nadya Karpova.
Karpova came out as gay last month, with Kasatkina citing her bravery as inspiration to publicly reveal her sexuality herself.
She said: “Not only did Nadya help herself by coming out and get this burden off her chest, she has also helped others.”
“I believe it’s important that influential people from sports, and any other sphere speak about it. It really helps,” she added.
Kasatkina secured her best finish in a Grand Slam tournament by making the semi-finals of the French Open earlier this year.
She was excluded from competing at Wimbledon due to the ban on Russian and Belarusian players at the tournament.
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