Images via Instagram @duteechand
A professional sprinter just became India’s first openly gay athlete.
Last year, the Indian Supreme Court made a historic decision to decriminalize gay sex. Since then, several LGBTQ people in the country have felt comfortable enough to come out. And now India’s first professional athlete has done so.
Dutee Chand is a 23-year-old sprinter who shares that she has been dating another woman from her village for five years.
“I have found someone who is my soulmate,” she told reporters from her training spot of Hyderabad. “I have always believed that everyone should have the freedom to love. There is no greater emotion than love and it should not be denied.”
It’s not all great news, however, as Chand stated. She shared that some family members were not accepting of her relationship, especially her sister.
“My eldest sister feels that my partner is interested in my property. She has told me that she will send me to jail for having this relationship,” she explained.
Despite this personal drama, Chand is still committed to athleticism and running. In 2013, she was the first sprinter from India to reach finals at the World Youth Championships. Unfortunately, she was later banned from competing by the Athletics Federation of India in 2014. This is because she failed a hormone test and was found to have high testosterone levels. She later revealed it was because of a condition called ‘hyperandrogenism.” Her legal team then argued that the ruling was discriminatory.
Then in 2016, Dutee Chand qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics. And in 2018, she won two silver medals at the Asian Games.
We can’t wait to see what’s next for her life and career.