Dutee Chand has faced an uphill battle in her life when it came to achieving success and fame in the world of Indian athletics. In 2014, Dutee was dropped from the Commonwealth Games squad after being rendered ineligible to compete as a female athlete due to hyperandrogenism policy of the IAAF, which is the world athletics body. After a tough four-year battle, she was allowed to race again after winning her case at the Court of Arbitration (CAS). Dutee went on to secure two silver medals in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta.
Now, in her personal life, Dutee has taken a bold step and acknowledged that she is in a same-sex relationship. Speaking to the Sunday Express, Dutee said she got the courage to speak up about her relationship after the Supreme Court decriminalised Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code last year.
“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. The Supreme Court of India has also struck down the old law. I believe nobody has the right to judge me as an athlete because of my decision to be with who I want. It is a personal decision, which should be respected. I will continue to strive to win medals for India at international meets,” Dutee told the Sunday Express.
Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code came into force in 1861 and was modelled on Britain’s ‘Buggery Act’ of 1533 which criminalised “unnatural offences”. According to the act, “whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.” The Supreme Court said that Section 377 runs contradictory to the Constitution as far as criminalising consensual homosexual sex goes. The Supreme Court declared all forms of consensual sex between competent adults to be legal and it should be free consent without any coercion.
Dutee added that her main focus was the World Championship and the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics but she also wanted to settle down with her partner. “I have found someone who is my soulmate. I believe everyone should have the freedom to be with whoever they decide they want to be with. It is an individual person’s choice. In the future, I would like to settle down with her,” Dutee said.