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Russia’s Daria Kasatkina comes out as gay as anti-LGBTQ talks escalate

Daria Kasatkina. (Photo by Antonio Borga/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)

Russian tennis player Daria Kasatkina publicly came out as gay on Monday, saying in a video interview that she is dating a woman.

At 12th in the world, she is the highest-ranked women’s tennis player in Russia. She also reached the French Open semi finals this year. On Monday, Kasatkina was asked in an interview with Russian blogger Vitya Kravchenko if she has a girlfriend. She responded: “Yes. Living in the closet is impossible.”

“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,” Kasatkina said. “Living in peace with yourself is the only thing that matters.”

She later posted a photo with her girlfriend, Russian Olympic medalist Natalia Zabiiako, on Twitter.

“My cutie pie,” she wrote.

Her comments came as Russian deputies proposed a new law on Monday that would ban “promotion” of LGBTQ relationships in a positive or neutral manner. While homosexuality is not criminalized in the country, since 2013, Russian law has dictated that LGBTQ relationships cannot be discussed, as such discussion constitutes “promotion of non-traditional sexual relations” to minors.

“There are many subjects that are even more important than it that are banned, so it’s no surprise,” Kasatkina said. “This notion of someone wanting to be gay or becoming one 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?

“It is important to talk about these things. It is important for young people who have a hard time with society and need support. I believe it is important that influential people from sports, or any other sphere really, talk about it. It helps.”