‘It’s humiliating for us’: village disowns Dutee Chand, India’s first openly gay athlete

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06/05/2019

Supporters of India’s first openly gay athlete fear for her safety after her decision to come out prompted a backlash in her home village. Local reaction was hostile in Chaka Gopalpur, a village of weavers in Odisha, after Dutee Chand, the country’s fastest sprinter, told reporters on 19 May that her gay partner was her soulmate. Chand’s mother, Akhuji, told the Indian Express: “I had been supporting her all along for her special interest in sports but … we belong to a traditional weaver community, which does not permit such things. How can we face our relatives and society?” Prashant Behra, a villager, said: “It’s humiliating for all of us. We have supported her all the way in her running but we cannot accept this relationship. Marriage can only be between a man and a woman. She should never have talked about it to the whole world. She should stick to running.”

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