It is a difficult climate for LGBTQ people in Russia. President Vladimir Putin has made LGBTQ discrimination a centerpiece of his authoritarian regime, most infamously passing a law banning the promotion of homosexual activities and relationships.
With that in mind, it’s important whenever any Russian public figure speaks out in support of LGBTQ rights. And that’s exactly what tennis pro Daria Kasatkina did.
In a recent TV interview, Kasatkina, who was ranked No. 10 on the WTA tour in 2018, pledged her support for LGBTQ people when asked why few athletes publicly come out.
“In Russia things like that are met with huge negativity.” Kasatkina said. “Europeans are more tolerant, but the world still doesn’t accept homosexuality as much.”
“But those who come out are doing it right. Why should one hide their true self?”
The interviewer, Russian personality Sofya Tartakova, asked Kasatkina many juvenile questions about gender identity and sexual orientation, at least according to this humble blogger. A smattering of the inquiries are below:
“Are you a tomboy?”
“You never thought about hooking up with another tennis girl?”
“Finding a significant other is hard for girls on the tour. You earn a lot, and not every man is able to meet your level. Also, you’re always traveling. What do you think, could it be because any girl still wants some love, some level of intimacy, that girl-on-girl couples emerge in female tennis?”
“Would you start an actual relationship with a girl?”
Still, the tone of the interview was friendly, even while Tartakova continued to prod Kasatkina about her personal life: “Overall, it seems you tend to go both ways. Could you compare how boys and girls flirt with you, is it different?,” she asked at one point.
Kasatkina answered earnestly about what makes women attractive to other women.
“Women know better (than men) about how other women work,” she said. “Girls in a relationship are much more understanding.”
With a leader who criminalized the normalization of homosexual activities, those are powerful words to hear.
You can watch the full interview on YouTube below. The exchange highlighted in this article starts at 44:00.