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Ice Dancer Karina Manta Embraces Her Bisexuality

Ice Dancer Karina Manta Embraces Her Bisexuality

The 22-year-old is America's first openly queer woman figure skater.


U.S. Figure Skating can celebrate another first for diversity after ice dancer Karina Manta came out as bisexual in a YouTube video with her girlfriend. 

In an interview with The Advocate, Manta said she had been afraid to come out of the closet for a long time, but decided to embrace her identity after she and her skating partner Joe Johnson qualified to compete at Skate America in October.

"It was Joe and my first Grand Prix, and it was a bigger stage than we had been on up to that point," she said. "I wanted to be able to do it as wholly myself."

Johnson, who has been openly gay for years, said that Manta was waiting for just the right moment to post the video. "She really found that perfect timing for her and created something that I think made a lot of us cry. She came out in a really meaningful way, and I was super proud of her."

Manta is the first openly queer, female figure skater to compete for America. She's the second out female figure skater in the world, after Japanese skater Fumie Suguri, also bisexual. Manta and Johnson are also the first ice dancing team with two openly queer skaters.

Manta said she had previously been afraid to let her girlfriend come to skating events. "She wanted to be supportive of me and wanted to see me skate. That's what I'm doing with most of my time, and I was kind of keeping that world from her because I was afraid about people's reactions."

But at Skate America, she was proud to have her girlfriend there sharing the experience with her.

"It was nice to be on this stage knowing that there might be younger skaters, younger girls watching, and seeing that maybe they don't have to fit certain stereotypes [with me] being there with my hair all short and my girlfriend in the audience."

Johnson said both of them being out let them fully enjoy their performance. "Being out there, having nothing to hide, being as close as we were going through that experience, it definitely had an effect. It felt different from previous competitions ... it was this really huge moment in both of our lives. To accomplish something like that, being ourselves while being there on that stage, was incredible."

Watch Manta's coming outvideo below!

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