Ace sprinter Dutee Chand had recently broken news that she is in a same-sex relationship. Now, she is facing a backlash from her family, especially her sister, who is allegedly threatening to send the athlete to jail over her sexual orientation. According to The Sunday Express Dutee revealed that she has found a soulmate, a girl from her hometown of Chaka Gopalpur in Odisha and she has never been happier.
Dutee also expressed that her parents have not objected to her relationship outright yet, but her eldest sister has some serious issues. She had actually threatened to banish her from the family and also made it clear that if Dutee carries on with this relationship she would have her sent to jail.
Dutee was quoted by PTI as saying, “My eldest sister kind of wields power and authority in my family. She has thrown out my elder brother from home because she does not like his wife. She has threatened me that same will happen to me. But I am also an adult who has individual freedom. So, I decided to go ahead with this and make it public.”
“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,” said the women’s 100m record holder at the Asian Athletics Championships 2019. She added that both she and her partner are free to marry whoever they want.
Dutee is yet to reveal the identity of her partner, however, she said she did not want make her “the centre of undue attention”. “I have found someone who is my soulmate. I believe everyone should have the freedom to be with whoever they decide they want to be with. I have always supported the rights of those who want to be in a same-sex relationship. It is an individual person’s choice,” Dutee told The Indian Express.
Interestingly, Dutee is the first Indian sportsperson to have publicly admitted to being in a same-sex relationship.
“She is from my town and a sports fan herself. She read about the struggles that I have gone through to make a career in sports and told me that she was inspired by my story. That is how we came in touch with each other,” she added.
Her concerns seem to be valid since India is yet to fully accept same sex relationships in general. Though 2018 was a landmark year, as India decriminalised same sex relationships and according to Dutee, she was encouraged by that to speak up about her relationship. But the fact that her own sister is against the relationship proves how it is a struggle for the LGBT community to find acceptance, from both the society and their loved ones.
“My partner also agreed that we should make this public and face whatever repercussions it may bring to us. I believe in individual freedom and right to decide how and with whom I will live my life,” she continued.
“I am having a relationship with a 19-year-old woman from my village for the past five years. She is studying B.A. 2nd year in a Bhubaneswar college. She is a relative of mine and whenever I come to home, I spend time with her. She is a kind of soul-mate for me and I want to settle down with her in future,” Dutee added.
Further talking about her rights to marry she claimed, “The Supreme Court of India has also struck down the old law. I believe nobody has the right to judge me as an athlete because of my decision to be with who I want. It is a personal decision, which should be respected. I will continue to strive to win medals for India at international meets.”
On the work front, a confident Dutee said, “I will continue my athletics career. I am going to take part in the World University Games next month and hope to qualify for the World Championships later this year. My aim to qualify for next year’s Olympics, so I am training hard.”
She is currently training in Hyderabad to qualify for the World Championships and the Tokyo Olympics, slated to be held in 2020.
Feature Image Credit: The Hindu