Daria Kasatkina Opens Up About Her Sexuality As Native Russia Eye Tightening Anti-LGBT Laws - UBITENNIS
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Daria Kasatkina Opens Up About Her Sexuality As Native Russia Eye Tightening Anti-LGBT Laws



Daria Kasatkina has become one of the very few Russian athletes to speak publicly about their sexuality during a Youtube interview with blogger Vitya Kravchenko in Spain. 

The world No.12 has previously spoken about being bisexual but until now had not spoken any further about her personal life. Kasatkina has confirmed that she is in a relationship with another woman and posted a photo of them both shortly after the video was published. Her girlfriend is figure skater Natalia Zabiiako who won a silver medal in the team event at the 2018 Winter Olympics representing Russia but has since switched her allegiance to Canada. 

Kasatkina spoke about her personal life after praising Russian footballer Nadezhda Karpova who has recently come out as gay. The 25-year-old said the decision by Karpova is a move she believes will help others, especially those who may not be open about their sexuality for whatever reason. 

I was happy for her, but also for other people, especially girls who need to know that. It has empowered them for sure,” she said. 
“Not only did Nadya help herself by coming clean and getting this burden off her chest, but she helped others.’
“It is important for young people who have a hard time with society and need support. I think that it is very important that influential people from sport, or any other sphere really, speak about it. It helps.”

Continuing his interview, Kravchenko then asked the tennis star if she was happy to speak out about her sexuality. 

“I’m a little nervous, because I’ve never been so open on camera,” said Kasatkina, adding “but in general, I’m pretty cool.”

Kasatkina is currently based in Spain which is a country ranked as the 10th best in the region for LGBT rights according to research conducted by the European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. In contrast, Russia is ranked 46th with only Armenia, Turkey and Azerbaijan having a lower score than them. 

“There are so many taboo topics in our country. And there are more important topics that are forbidden, so there is nothing to be surprised at,” Kasatkina replied when asked about the LGBT community in Russia. 
“There’s this phrase, ‘if you want to be gay’. If you want to or not, if you become it or not. What kind of nonsense is this? 
“Really, it seems to me there’s nothing easier in the world than to be straight. Given a choice, who would choose to be gay and make life difficult for yourself? Seriously. Especially in Russia.”

The bigger picture 

A player coming out may not seem like a massive issue in Western Europe but in Kasatkina’s home country it is a completely different scenario. On the same day as Kasatkina’s video was published, lawmakers in Russia tabled a motion calling for a tightening of their anti-LGBT laws. The country already has in place a law that prohibits the display of what they call “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relationships” toward minors. Now some want to introduce a policy where any information deemed “LGBT propaganda” by Russian authorities can be banned. 

In its explanatory note published on the lower-house State Duma website, it says “Public approval and recognition of such relationships are dangerous not only for children and young people… but for the whole society.’ It also confirmed that should this act come into law, authorities would be allowed to ban websites from showing LGBT relationships. 

Given the current climate, it is unsurprising that Kasatkina says that it will likely ‘never’ be ok for same-sex couples to hold their hands in public in Russia. Although some regions in the country are more tolerant than others. 

“We had some tendencies not so long ago – approximately when the [2018 football] World Cup as. Then, ‘the road’s closed for repairs.’ She spoke of attitudes towards LGBT people in Russia.
“Living in the closet, as they say, for a long time is difficult and doesn’t make sense. It will be stuck in your head until you say it. It is clear that everyone chooses how to open up and how much. You have to be comfortable with yourself, that’s the most important thing.” Kasatkina added.

The reaction 

Tennis figures within what is a largely conservative Russia have expressed their support to Kasatkina after formally coming out about her relationship. Andrei Chesnokov is a former top 10 player who reached the semi-finals of the French Open during the 1980s. 

“My position is very ordinary – this is her choice and her own business. I don’t even want to get involved. I support Dasha. Every person has the right to privacy. She’s a normal girl, she doesn’t kill anyone. Dasha lives her wonderful life. Kasatkina is a wonderful person and it is a pleasure to communicate with her. Dasha is also a great tennis player.” He told Sport 24

Former world No.1 Yevgeny Kafelnikov also told Sport 24 that Kasatkina’s coming out ‘won’t affect his relationship with her’ in any way. 

Speaking to Match TV, Kasatkina’s agent Sofya Tartakova said her announcement should have no impact on her career and called her an inspiration to others.

“How can this interfere with a career? Does it bother you that you love someone, love, in principle, can interfere with someone? Regardless of what gender she is. Should we be afraid of the reaction of the Russian public? I think our audience needs to develop both spiritually and mentally. Thank God that there are players like Daria Kasatkina, who is not afraid and talks about herself very sincerely and humanly. It is difficult to be a human being, but it is possible even while living in Russia,” She said

Unfortunately, not everybody has been as supportive of Kasatkina with one politician going as far as calling her a ‘bad role model.’ Something which Margaret Court once said about Martina Navratilova’s sexuality more than 40 years ago. Roman Teryushkov is a member of the State Duma which is the lower house of the Russian parliament. 

“Honestly, it is difficult for me to comment on such statements. We are Russian people! We have traditional, cultural, moral values ​​that we pass on from generation to generation,” he commented.
Everything that comes to us from the West, I hope, will soon be eradicated. My colleagues in the State Duma have just prepared a draft law banning the propaganda” of same-sex relationships. In Russia, this should by no means be supported and encouraged! We need to eradicate this and live with our culture.
It is impossible to approve the act of Daria in any way! Our athletes have always, starting with Soviet Russia, been idols to follow. And Kasatkina is not the best role model.”

Although Teryushkov’s words will not concern Kasatkina if she sticks to the philosophy she mentioned in her interview…. 

Living in peace with yourself is the only thing that matters, and f**k everyone else.

Daria Kasatkina

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Andrey Rublev comes back from one set down to beat Zhang Zhizhen in Dubai



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