Hyderabad: Unapologetic about her same-sex relationship with a younger relative, India’s fastest woman Dutee Chand is facing a tough battle of acceptance in her family. Dutee, who won two silver medals at the 2018 Asian Games, became one of the few athletes in the world to openly admit same-sex relationship.
“I am in 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 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,” the 23-year-old sprinter had said.
A landmark judgement of the Supreme Court last year had made same-sex relationships between consenting adults a non-criminal act though marriage between such individuals is still not legal in India.
Dutee's eldest sister has threatened the sprinter to not only expel her from the family but also send her to jail.
Meanwhile, Dutee's mother Akhoji Chand has also not accepted the relationship. She said that the girl Dutee likes is like a daughter to Dutee and that the relationship is not accepted in a society like Odisha.
“Dutee wants to marry a girl, who is the daughter of my niece, so she is my grand-daughter. In this relation, Dutee will be like a mother of that girl. Then how will it be possible in our society in Odisha,” Akhoji told a news agency.
Her mother said that she had a word with Dutee about her relation and that Dutee maintains that since the court has made same sex relation legal, she can marry the girl and that all her mentors are in her support.
Akhoji said that she wants her daughter to focus on the sport as the government wants. She added that the country is spending a lot of money on her and she must keep the reputation of the nation through her sport and not bring any disrepute.
Meanwhile, Dutee maintains that she will continue her relationship with her soul mate and her partner is free to marry whoever she wants to if she decides to do so in future.
“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,” Dutee had said earlier.
While Dutee refused to name her partner, she said the Supreme Court judgement on the issue gave her the courage to go public.
“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,” the sprinter had said.