Jajpur, May 19 (LocalWire): Odisha’s ace spriner and Asian Games silver medallist, Dutee Chand, came out in the open about her lesbian relationship.
In an interview, the 23-year-old sprinter revealed she was in a relationship with a girl from her hometown Chaka Gopalpur in Jajpur district and intended to marry her.
‘I am the first sportsperson in India to reveal being in a same-sex relationship after the Supreme Court ruled in favour of same-sex relationships last year by scraping Section-377 IPC.
I will soon tie the knot with 19-year-old Monalisa Das with whom I am in a live-in relationship for the last two years. We are happy together and as adults have every right to take our own decisions,’ said Dutee.
‘My athletic career will not be affected for my relationship. South African Olympic champion and lesbian athlete, Caster Semenya married her long-term partner Violet Raseboya in 2017,’ added Dutee.
‘We are in love with each other and I cannot live without Dutee. Our ring ceremony will be held in Bhubaneswar on 25 May. We have already invited our friends and wellwishers to the function, said Monalisa. However, Dutee stated that the date is yet to be finalised.
‘We will soon make history by becoming the first to wed under the new law in the state. We wanted to show the society that there was nothing wrong with living with a partner of the same sex. Both of us rejoiced after Section 377 was revoked on 6th September last year,’ said Monalisa.
‘My parents did not approve of the relationship and had asked me not to live with Monalisa. But I am determined to marry her,’ said Dutee.
It is a huge victory for the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community. Our marriage will be a victory against the stigma and humiliation that our community has been facing. Lesbians face ridicule and taunts from our society particularly in rural areas.
There are many instances where lesbians carved a niche for themselves and dared to make a difference with their contribution towards the society,’ added Dutee.
Akhuji, Dutee’s mother said, ‘We are shocked to know that Dutee is going to marry Monalisa. We are totally against the lesbian relationship.
All our dreams came true when she won two silver medals in Asian Games. We were also delighted after the Chief Minister awarded Rs 3 crores to Dutee. It was big money for us. We told Dutee umpteen times to provide us some money as we have six daughters including her. But she did not pay any heed. We weave to eke out a living.’
‘We are shaken by the knowledge of our daughter’s lesbian relationshipnd cannot imagine how our daughter did such an immoral and unethical act. She tarnished our image in the village,’ said Chakradhar, Dutee’s father.
Saraswati Chand, elder sister of Dutee and a former international athlete said, ‘Dutee is being misguided. Some people, including Monalisa’s parents, with an ulterior motive, are eyeing her money.
Dutee was disqualified on the eve of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow by the AFI as per IAAF’ s hyperandrogenism policy. But after tests, it was revealed Dutee’s body produced natural levels of testosterone above permissible range.’
‘That decision had left her distraught and upset. She filed an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sports in Switzerland and in an interim order she was allowed to participate in the Asian Championships in China.
Later, in 2015, she got a clean chit as in its final order the Court of Arbitration for Sports allowed her to restart her international athletic career. I am not against her lesbian relationship. But we advised her not to marry Monalisa.’
Umesh Singh, a senior lawyer of Kendrapara said, ‘The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and Special Marriage Act, 1954 legally recognizes heterosexual marriages.
The laws are provided for marriage between man and woman. But a girl can live with another girl as couple after the Supreme Court revoked Section 377 of IPC and police cannot take any legal action against them.
The Supreme Court also in its decision in 2014 National Legal Services Authority vs Union of India directed the Central and state governments to amend laws to provide ‘right to marry’ for transgender persons.’
‘But the law is yet to be enacted. The government should amend the laws to allow lesbian, transgender and gay marriages as countries like Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, United Kingdom, Uruguay and several sub-national jurisdictions including parts of Mexico and the United States allow same-sex couples to marry, Taiwan is the first Asian county to legalize same sex marriage on 17 May, 2019,’ Singh explained
Dutee is currently preparing for the World Championships and Tokyo Olympics 2020.