After becoming the first Indian athlete to acknowledge being in a same-sex relationship, India’s fastest woman Dutee Chand is now facing backlash from her sister, who is threatening to send the athlete to jail over her sexual orientation. Dutee told The Sunday Express that she has found a soulmate, a girl from her hometown in Odisha.
Dutee said that her parents have not yet objected to her relationship, but her eldest sister has threatened to not only banish her from the family but also send her 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 inpidual 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," she said, adding that her partner is free to marry whoever she wants.
In September last year, the Supreme Court read down the 158-year-old British-era law that criminalised same-sex relations between consenting adults in private, and punished them with jail terms. India, however, still does not recognise same-sex marriages.
The sprinter is currently training hard to qualify for the World Championships and the Tokyo Olympics next year, so any plans of formalising the relationship have been put off for later. "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 said.
"My partner also agreed that we should make this public and face whatever repercussions it may bring to us. I believe in inpidual freedom and right to decide how and with whom I will live my life," she said. Remembering Pinki Pramanik, who was accused of rape by her live-in partner, Dutee said, "We did not want this kind of situation happening in future."
In 2014, Dutee was dropped from India s Commonwealth Games team after officials claimed she fell foul of the testosterone-cap rules. The IAAF withdrew the rules last year, which allowed her to run in the 100 m and 200 m.