Indian sprinter Dutee Chand has become India’s first openly gay professional athlete after announcing she is in a same sex relationship.
Ms Chand said she felt inspired to go public after last year’s ruling by the Indian Supreme Court overturned a longstanding ban on consensual gay sex. She said no one had the right to judge her as an athlete and commented, “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 champion sprinter was the first Indian athlete to reach a final at a global athletics event but in 2014 was banned from competing after the Indian Athletics Federation raised concerns about her gender. The dispute for Chand’s legal fight to race against women began in 2014 where Ms Chand filed a case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Chand’s condition known as “hyperandrogenism” meant her testosterone levels were unusually high. A similar case to that of South African athlete Caster Semenya. However Chand’s legal team successfully won the appeal in 2015 arguing that the ruling was discriminatory and flawed. She then returned to competing a year later to win Silver at the Asian Games in the 100m and 200m races.
President of the Indian Athletics Federation, Sumariwalla said the announcement was a personal matter that had nothing to do with the federation but added, “We support our athletes in every way to perform better without getting into their personal lives and totally respect their privacy.”