A Team USA ice dancer has come out as bisexual in a heartwarming video where she describes the “lifelong panic attack” of being in the closet.
In the video, Karina Manta can be seen sitting on a bed and reading from her phone, while her girlfriend sits beside her playing the guitar.
In the heartfelt message, Manta said she wanted to thank her girlfriend for being there for her, even though their love had been made “a shadow” by being in the closet.
“Thank you for waiting through every conversation that I’ve referred to you as my best friend. Not because you aren’t my best friend, but because I’ve had to swallow the words ‘my love, my love, my love’ each time instead.”
Manta also said that she had “dragged” her girlfriend “back into the closet”, which she acknowledged had been hurtful for her partner.
“There’s no pretty way to say that I’ve made myself sick living my life this afraid. I’ve spent the past year as two different people, bags under each of their eyes for different reasons. Neither side of the pillow feels safe. I grow more exhausted every day.
“I am itching to shed my skin. I have long outgrown the cocoon… Today I am waking with the biggest yawn, stretching my limbs and saying, ‘I’m Karina, it’s nice to meet you after so long.’”
Manta’s girlfriend, Aleena, plays the guitar throughout the video, and sings parts of a song too.
Speaking to Outsports, Manta said she was “grateful” to all the people who had reached out to express their support after she released the video.
“It’s been a little overwhelming,” she said. “I’m adjusting to having more attention directed toward something I’ve kept fairly private for some time.”
Manta posted a message on Instagram three months ago, which featured a photo of her holding a pride flag, where she wished her followers a happy pride.
However, her video is the first time she has opened up explicitly about her sexuality.