It has almost been a year since the supreme court of India decriminalised same-sex relationships but it’s frightening to see the level of stigma that still exists in the society. Having come out with her same-sex relationship recently, Indian sprinter Dutee Chand has taken leaps and bounds not only for the sporting community but also for the people hailing from smaller towns of the country.
A native of Odisha, Chand shot to fame in the last few days as she became the first Indian sportsperson to admit to having a same-sex relationship. She received praise for her bold move from everywhere except from her own family. Chand was quoted saying that her sister had continually threatened, to out Chand and her partner. It even got to the point where she blackmailed her for a sum of 25 lakhs.
The 23-year old athlete who is now prepping for for World Champions and Tokyo Olympics-2020 has requested the media not to spread any news that would impact her career.
Having come from a small village, Chand will be an icon for those who live their life in fear of judgement and exclusion from society. What should be understood is that a person’s sexual preferences in no way defines who they are and what they are capable of doing.
It is no secret how the LGBTQ+ people are sidelined especially in the sporting community, they’re often welcomed with slurs that are causally thrown around belittling the whole community. This society often becomes a toxic place for people who want to do the thing they feel is right for themselves and as a society it’s high time that we realise that a we don’t have a say in anything regarding someone’s personal life.
And to the people who think this isn’t normal, think again, who really set these norms? How can something that’s right for you, be right someone else too? Maybe it’s time that we ask ourselves these questions instead of questioning the people who decide to live their life by their rules.
Dutee Chand is perhaps the queer icon the country has always needed. Someone youngsters can look upto while they are struggling to accept themselves. And as Chand said “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.”