One of the four openly LGBTQ professional tennis players in the world just won big at the Mumbai Open.
While Thailand is preparing to officially recognize gay unions, citizens should already recognize the talents of one gay women who’s successfully representing them.
25-year-old Luksika Kumkhum is the only openly gay professional tennis player from Thailand and one of four openly gay professional tennis players in a major tennis event this year, according to Out Sports.
Being a minority in that sense has not affected her game whatsoever. In fact, it makes her accomplishments all the more noteworthy.
Luksika Kumkhum blazed a path of victory at the WTA Mumbai Open. During the final, she beat Russia’s Irina Khromacheva and is now preparing to compete in matches in China and Taiwan.
Despite her success, Luksika Kumkhum has continued to field questions about her sexuality and her gender identity.
“I’m used to it now,” she told The Indian Express. “When I go to another country, they’re surprised. They’re like, ‘oh, you’re a man, right?’ I say no, I’m a woman. But then they don’t say anything. They just say OK and that’s that.”
She also remarked how her country, which is recognized as one of the most accepting Asian countries for LGBTQ foreigners, still has room to grow in terms of accepting its own LGBTQ citizens.
“It’s still not like Taiwan, where you can marry and all, but people at home accept it a bit more. But there is still the old thinking,” says the 25-year-old. “I’m comfortable with this. There are so many people in the world who are gay, but you’re still a person. If I’m doing good, and I haven’t killed anyone, then it’s fine.”
That said, being such a successful athlete will spotlight the contributions that LGBTQ people offer the country. Something that’s greatly needed as talk of political protections for LGBTQ citizens continue in Thailand.