Russia's top female tennis player, Daria Kasatkina comes out as lesbian, condemns country's attitude toward homosexuality
Russia's highest-ranked women's tennis player, Daria Kasatkina has come out as a lesbian while confirming her relationship with a woman.
The French Open semifinalist's comments come as the Russian parliament discusses tightening restrictions on public discussions about LGBTQ relationships.
In the interview on YouTube with Russian blogger Vitya Kravchenko, 25-year-old Kasatkina said 'yes' when asked if she has a girlfriend.
Soon after the interview was released, Kasatkina posted a picture on Instagram of her embracing Olympic silver medalist figure skater Natalia Zabiiako, 27, with a heart emoji and called Zabiiako 'my cutie pie' in a Twitter post.
Estonian-born Zabiiako, who won her Olympic medal with the Russian team in 2018, posted the same picture on Instagram, also with a heart.
Kasatkina became emotional at the end of yesterday's interview with Kravchenko, when he asked her whether she was afraid to return to her homeland.
He asked: 'Aren't you afraid you simply can't go back to Russia?'
'Yes I have thought about it,' she said, before weeping on to his shoulder.
Since 2013, Russian law has forbidden any discussion of LGBTQ relationships which is deemed to constitute 'promotion of non-traditional sexual relations to minors. '
Russian deputies yesterday proposed a new law that would completely ban 'promotion' of LGBTQ relationships in a positive or neutral light and on showing LBGTQ content in cinemas
There are many subjects that are even more important than it that are banned, so it's no surprise,' Kasatkina told Kravchenko's YouTube channel
'Living in the closet as they say is pointless. Until you choose to come out. Of course, it's up to you how to do it and how much to tell.
'Living in peace with yourself is the only thing that matters,' she added.
Earlier this month, Russian footballer Nadya Karpova also spoke publicly about her sexuality
'My respect. I was happy for her, but also other people, especially girls needed to know that,' Kasatkina said.
'It is important for young people who have a hard time with society and need support
'I believe it's important that influential people from sports, and any other sphere speak about it. It really helps,' she added
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.'