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Daria Kasatkina, Russia’s highest-ranked women’s tennis player, revealed Monday she is dating a woman as the Russian government looks to further restrict discussions on LGBTQ relationships.
Kasatkina made the revelation in an interview with YouTube blogger Vitya Kravchenko. When the interviewer asked Kasatkina if she had a girlfriend, the tennis star replied “yes.” She added that she believed “living in the closet” would not be sustainable long-term.
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“There is no point, it would always be going round in your head, until you say something. Obviously, each person decides how to open up and how much,” she said.
After the interview was posted, Kasatkina posted a picture of herself embracing Olympic silver medalist Natalia Zabiiako with a heart emoji and called the athlete her “cutie pie” in a subsequent Twitter post. Zabiiako also posted the photo on her Instagram page.
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Russian lawmakers have sought to broaden a law to completely ban the “promotion” of LGBTQ relationships in a positive or neutral light and ban showing LGBTQ content in films. Since 2013, the county has banned any discussion of LGBTQ relationships, which is deemed to constitute “promotion of non-traditional sexual relations” to minors.
Kasatkina recently made it to the French Open semifinal. She is ranked No. 12 in the world and lives and trains in Spain. She also called for the end of Russia’s invasion into Ukraine.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.