Thailand’s only openly gay professional tennis player, Luksika Kumkhum, is making an impact at home and abroad after a big win on Sunday (4 November).
She beat Russia’s Irina Khromacheva, 1-6, 6-2, 6-3, in a nearly four-hour WTA Mumbai Open Final. Twenty-five-year-old Luksika is now ranked 80th in the world.
Luksika is one of just four openly gay players to compete in a major 2018 tennis event, according to Out Sports.
Her victory was celebrated in local Thai newspaper, the Nation. ‘I hope this win won’t be my last. And I hope I can win bigger’ she told the paper.
Luksika will compete in China and Taiwan in the next two weeks.
Life as an LGBTI athlete
Luksika also travels often for competitions. She told the Indian Express she is used to life as an LGBTI athlete.
‘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 said.
The military junta, however, may be looking to enact equal marriage legislation ahead of elections in February next year. The generals want to gain support inside the country and internationally.
‘There is still the old thinking’ Luksika told the Indian Express. ‘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.’