Russian tennis player Daria Kasatkina has opened up about the struggles of being gay in Russia.
Homosexuality is generally frowned upon in her home country, but she says it’s “impossible” to live in the closet.
You can watch Kasatkina’s announcement in the video above
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In a video interview with Russian blogger Vitya Kravchenko, Russia’s highest ranked women’s player worries that it will “never be OK” to be gay in her country.
“Never,” she said, when asked when it will be OK to hold hands in public with a same-sex partner.
The world No.12 said young LGBTIQA people needed leaders to look up to, but that Russia was effectively disallowing that.
“For young people facing problems in public, it is very important when athletes or other well-known personalities talk about it,” she said.
“So many subjects are taboo in Russia, some of them more important than ours, it’s not a surprise.
“We had some positive tendencies not so long ago, around the time of the world championship, we were closer to the West.”
Kasatkina explained the reality of the plight of gay people in a world of conformity.
“The notion of someone wanting to be gay or becoming one (is) so ridiculous,” she said.
“I think there’s nothing easier in this world than being straight.
“Seriously, if there is a choice, nobody would choose being gay. Why make your life harder, especially in Russia? What’s the point?”
The 25-year-old said refusing to come out of the closet was “impossible.”
“Not for the long-term, no, it’s too hard,” she said.
“It’s pointless; you’ll be constantly focussed on that 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.”
Kasatkina praised Russian footballer Nadezhda Karpova for opening the door after becoming the first female Russian sportswoman to come out in June.
There had been movement toward more openness at the 2018 football World Cup in Russia, Kasatkina said, but no longer as Russia becomes increasingly restrictive following the invasion of Ukraine.
“The way was closed. Road works,” Kasatkina said.
Tennis reporter Nick McCarvel lauded Kasatkina for her bravery.
“Courageous, frank, open and honest – we salute you,” he wrote on Twitter.
“Living your full truth isn’t easy for anyone, but for some it’s much, much more challenging.”