Dutee Chand faces expulsion from family after revealing same-sex relationship
The Indian sprinter said the Supreme Court judgement on the issue gave her the courage to go public.
BHUBANESWAR: Asian Games silver medallist India’s fastest sprinter Dutee Chand might have set
another record by becoming the first athlete of the country to reveal her same-sex relationship, but she now faces opposition from within her family.
Dutee, who is currently undergoing training at a camp in Hyderabad for the World Championships and Tokyo Olympics 2020, had admitted about the relationship with a girl of her village with whom she wanted to spend the rest of her life.
As the news spread, her mother Akhuji Chand said she will not allow her same-sex relationship as Odia tradition does not permit it and such a relationship will destroy their family bonding and social fabric.
“I had been supporting her all along for her special interest in sports. We feel proud when she brings laurels for the State as well as the country. But I can not allow her if she wants to marry the girl. We belong to a traditional Odia weaver community which does not permit such things. How can we face our relatives and the society? I am with her as long as she is with sports not beyond that,” she told reporters.
Dutee is third daughter of Chakradhar Chand and Akhuji, who have six daughters and one son. While one of her sisters is married, her only brother is living separated after marriage.
A native of Chaka Gopalpur in Odisha’s Jajpur district, the 23-year-old athlete said she gathered courage to divulge about her relationship following the Supreme Court verdict in September 2018 that decriminalised same-sex relationships between consenting adults.
Her elder sister Saraswati, however, blamed Dutee’s coaches and an organisation, which has been extending her financial support, for making the same-sex relationship public.
“It is a conspiracy to swindle her property and prize money. Her godfather and coaches are blackmailing her. She has snapped ties with our family after coming under their influence. They have hatched the conspiracy and trapped the girl’s parents to usurp her property. There is threat to her life and property,”
claimed Saraswati and demanded a probe into the sudden development.
“Dutee is now focusing on the World Championships and Tokyo Olympics 2020. What is the requirement to make such things public and embarrass us? I demand the State Government to order a probe into the incident and find out the truth behind it,” she added.
Dutee was awarded a cash prize of Rs 3 crore by Odisha Government after she sprinted to silver medals in the 100m and 200m finals at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta last year.