Daria Kasatkina comes out as gay and speaks out against Russian attitudes

The current world No 12 told Russian blogger Vitya Kravchenko that she is in a relationship with a woman and found “living in the closet” impossible. Kasatkina, who is not currently based in Russia, also posted pictures on Instagram with her girlfriend, the figure skater Natalia Zabiiako.

The 25-year-old also spoke out against attitudes towards homosexuality and restrictions on LGBTQ+ rights in Russia. “So many subjects are taboo in Russia,” Kasatkina said. “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.”

“Seriously, if there is a choice, no one would choose being gay. Why make your life harder, especially in Russia? What’s the point?” she added. Russia’s existing “gay propaganda” law, passed in 2013, has been used to stop gay pride marches and detain gay rights activists.

There is currently an effort by Russian lawmakers to broaden this law with a complete ban on “promotion” of LGBTQ+ relationships in a positive or neutral light, to adults as well as minors, and on showing LBGTQ+ content in cinemas.

In her interview, which was filmed in Barcelona, Kasatkina expressed fears that she would “never” be able to hold her girlfriend’s hand in Russia. “Living in the closet is impossible. It is too hard, it is pointless,” she added. “Living in peace with yourself is the only thing that matters, and fuck everyone else.”

Kasatkina added she was inspired to come out after the Russian footballer Nadya Karpova revealed she was gay last month. “Not only did Nadya help herself by coming out and get this burden off her chest, she has also helped others,” Kasatkina added.

“I believe it is important that influential people from sports, or any other sphere really, speak about it,” Kasatkina, a semi-finalist at this year’s French Open, added. “It is important for young people who have a hard time with society and need support.”

Kasatkina’s Instagram pictures with Zabiiako, who was born in Estonia but now competes for Canada in figure skating, drew a positive response. “I’m so PROUD! @kasatkina you go giiiiirl!!!” wrote Karpova in response, while US tennis player Amanda Anisimova also posted her support.

In the interview, Kasatkina also called for an end to fighting in Ukraine. “For the war to end,” she said when asked what she wants most in life, describing the conflict as a “complete nightmare.” Kasatkina is then shown crying in the video, when asked if she fears she may not be able to return to Russia after the interview.