In a world that’s often as thrilling as a Bollywood blockbuster, there’s one real-life story that stands out. It’s the life of Dutee Chand, a sprinter who’s not just India’s champion in the women’s 100 meters race but also its very first openly gay athlete. This isn’t your typical run-of-the-mill sports story; it’s a journey filled with courage, love, and even a dash of controversy.
In an exclusive interview with Indiatimes, she shares her life, her career, and the rollercoaster ride of being a queer public figure in India.
Her journey is more than just about breaking records; it’s about breaking stereotypes. Dutee’s life echoes a narrative of hope, one that teaches us that self-discovery has no limits. It’s a story that’s got all the elements of a Bollywood blockbuster, but it’s as real and relatable as it gets.
Dutee Chand’s journey began with a twist that rivals any Bollywood story. She was blackmailed by her own sister, Saraswati Chand, who threatened to reveal Dutee’s sexuality to the media. Faced with a difficult decision, Dutee chose to come out to her true self, even though it meant navigating the storm of societal expectations and judgments. “I was nervous whether this would affect my career and how society would react,” she admits.
“They called me psycho, a man hiding his gender, high on hormones,” she says, recalling the derogatory comments she faced during this trying period. The world can be a harsh place for those who dare to defy convention, but Dutee’s determination to live her truth shone through the darkest moments.
Fairytale love story
She has been in a loving relationship with her partner, Monalisa Das, for over six years. “Love cannot be hidden,” Dutee says, reflecting on her decision to share her love with the world. Despite facing criticism and backlash, she stood firm, proving that love knows no gender.
“I want a family for myself,” Dutee shares, speaking about her aspirations for a future with Monalisa. Her desire to marry her partner and adopt a child is her dream.
Living the LGBT life
Dutee Chand’s courageous journey as an openly gay athlete has not been without its challenges. Country where societal acceptance of same-sex relationships is far from widespread, Dutee highlights the irony of a diverse nation that still struggles with recognizing diverse sexual orientations. She questions why love has boundaries in a land known for its diverse religious beliefs.
Bollywood, often seen as a reflection of Indian society, hasn’t been quick to engage in queer conversations. Dutee believes this reluctance stems from the fear of backlash, which could affect actors’ careers. “It’s not a hidden thing that showbiz has several gay individuals, but they are apprehensive of getting canceled if they accept it openly,” she explains.
Solidarity to Fellow Athletes
Dutee Chand’s courage extends beyond her personal journey. She stands in solidarity with fellow athletes who are currently protesting for their rights in India. These athletes, who bring glory to the nation, are demanding fair treatment and recognition. Dutee firmly states, “The players who brought medals to the country don’t deserve to sit on roads when the government can honor us when we win something.”
Her View on the Supreme Court’s Verdict
Recently, Dutee Chand’s hopes for legal same-sex marriages in India were dashed by Supreme Court of India ruling. The court left the decision to Parliament, postponing Dutee’s wedding plans with her partner, Monalisa. “I plan to marry my partner Monalisa. But the decision of the apex court has upset all plans,” Dutee expressed. “I have been living with Monalisa for five years. We are happy together, and as adults, we have every right to make our own decisions. We hope Parliament passes a law allowing same-sex marriages,” she added, reflecting the hopes of countless others seeking equal rights.
Her hopes for same-sex marriage, now resting with Parliament, reflect a broader struggle for equal rights in both sports and daily life. She envisions a future where parents feel secure supporting their children’s athletic dreams and where fairness prevails for all sports athletes irrespective of their gender and sexuality.
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