Russian Tennis Player Daria Kasatkina Comes Out As Gay

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Daria Kasatkina speaks her truth and slams Russia’s war in Ukraine as a “complete nightmare”

Coming out of the closet is a hard thing to do. It takes immense courage, and often, a close network of support. Tennis star, Daria Kasatkina braved the inevitable backlash surrounding ‘coming out’ in a country that is notoriously hostile.

Daria Kasatkina
Daria (Sky News)

Daria Kasatkina is officially Russia’s highest-ranked female tennis player and sits at number 12 worldwide. A well-known figure in Russian society, the 25-year-old finally decided to announce that she is in a relationship with Natalia Zabiiako, a successful Russian-Estonian figure skater from Tallin. Daria decided to break the news on Instagram, through a video interview with Russian blogger, Vitya Kravchnko – after declaring that “living in the closet” is unbearable.

“Living in peace with yourself is all that matters,” said Kasatkina. “So many subjects are taboo in Russia,” she said, slating her home country’s homophobic laws. “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.” The unapologetic interview has been received well by queer Russians on social media, who see Kasatkina as a brave role model.

Daria Kasatkina and her partner
Daria and her partner, Natalia (Yahoo Sport Australia)

Kasatkina continues to sink her teeth into Putin’s laws that have destroyed the lives of many innocent queer people. “Seriously, if there is a choice, no one would choose being gay. Why make your life harder, especially in Russia? What’s the point?” Here Kasatkina is referring to Russia’s “gay propaganda law” which was controversially passed in 2013. The law prohibits pride marches, allows the detainment of gay rights activists and even prohibits the “promotion of homosexuality.” These laws have had a catastrophic impact on queen people in Russia, which effectively attempts to make the community invisible. Kasatkina’s statement, therefore, is an act of defiance.

Kasatkina doesn’t stop there, she also condemns Russia’s war in Ukraine. When asked what she wants the most in life, Kasatkina says, “for the war to end.” She then labels the conflict as a “complete nightmare.” Due to the political nature of her comments, it is unlikely that Kasatkina can continue living in Russia. There are significant fears for the safety of the tennis player and her family.

Daria Kasatkina now represents a suppressed queer community that has been starved of a voice. “Living in peace with yourself is the only thing that matters, and fuck everyone else.”

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