Russia’s highest-ranked female tennis player came out as lesbian in an interview, while addressing the growing homosexuality in the country.
Daria Kasatkina, currently ranked 12th in the world, told a Russian blogger that she is in a relationship with Natalia Zabiako, a female figure skater. Kasatkina posted pictures of both of them together on social media after the interview.
Kasatkina spoke out against Russia’s position, saying that she would never hold hands with her girlfriend in her home country, where she is not currently based.
“This notion of someone being or becoming gay is ridiculous. I think there is nothing easier in this world than being straight,” she said. “Seriously, if there is a choice, no one chooses to be gay Will do Why make your life difficult, especially in Russia? Whats up?”
Although homosexual relationships were decriminalized in Russia in 1993, the tide has turned in recent years. According to The Council for Global Equality, in 2013, the country passed a “gay propaganda” law that has been used to target the LGTBQ community.
ILGA-Europe, an organization working for LGBTQ rights in Europe, ranks Russia as one of the worst countries in Europe for LGBTQ people, just above Azerbaijan and Turkey.
“It’s impossible to live in the closet. It’s too hard, it’s pointless,” said Kasatkina. “Being at peace with yourself is the only thing that matters.”
More athletes around the world are choosing to come out in public. Last year’s Tokyo Olympics had more LGBTQ athletes — at least 186 — than any previous sport.
But despite the increased visibility, many LGBTQ people around the world continue to face persecution. In the US, state lawmakers have introduced at least 162 bills targeting LGBTQ Americans in the first half of 2022 – a record year for such legislation.