Olympic Sprinter Becomes the First Openly Gay Athlete in India

An Indian athlete has become the first sportsperson in India to come out as gay.

Dutee Chand, a 23-year-old sprinter, announced that she has been in a same-sex relationship for the past five years, BBC reports.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Dutee Chand (@duteechand) on

According to Chand, the Indian Supreme Court’s landmark decision in 2018 to decriminalize gay sex encouraged her to finally reveal her sexuality. She lamented, however, that some members of her family have yet to accept her relationship with a woman from her hometown of Chaka Gopalpur.

“I am having a relationship with a 19-year-old woman from my village [] for the past five years,” she told the press.

“I have found someone who is my soulmate. 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.”

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Dutee Chand (@duteechand) on

Chand shared that some of her family members do not accept her decision, including her sister, who reportedly threatened that the family will disown her.

“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 was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, her announcement was greeted with praise online from netizens. One of her many supporters is talk show host Ellen Degeneres, who shared a photo of Chand along with a post that read, “She’s the 100m record holder and the first openly gay sportsperson in India. I guess she knows a thing or two about being first. I’m so proud of her.”

Chand is notable for being the first Indian sprinter to reach a final at a global sporting event, the World Youth Championships in 2013.

However, Chand was barred by the Athletics Federation of India to participate in competitions back in 2014 for failing a hormone test which revealed her “unusually high” testosterone levels due to a condition known as “hyperandrogenism.”

The next year, Chand’s lawyers successfully argued at a hearing that the ruling was discriminatory and flawed, enabling her to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics. In 2018, she took home two silver medals for India at the Asian Games.

Featured Image via Instagram / duteechand

NextShark is a leading source covering Asian American News and Asian News including business, culture, entertainment, politics, tech and lifestyle.

For advertising and inquiries: [email protected]