India's First Openly Gay Athlete Dutee Chand on Love & Living Life on Own Terms

Dutee Chand came out in 2019, announcing her relationship with partner Monalisa.

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Dutee Chand is India's fastest woman runner, currently holding the 100m national record. But that is not all that sets apart this spirited 26-year-old. Dutee is also the first Indian sports star to come out as gay when in 2019 she shared her story with her fans and millions of other Indians.

She was met with a mixed bag of reactions. Though she received a lot of love and support, many who were closest to her, ended up being her big detractors.

"There was a lot of controversy, I had to face a lot of difficulties. A lot of people criticised me about my relationship, even talking about my gender. I had a lot of problems at that time. I couldn’t get out anywhere, whenever anyone saw me they’d say, ‘she’s gay’, ‘she’s lesbian’ or use odd words to describe me. Eventually people started understanding and after the reading down of Section 377, many started supporting me," Dutee said to The Quint while talking about her relationship.


Dutee with her partner Monalisa.

(Photo: Puma)


Three years have passed since then, Dutee has achieved greater highs in her professional life including a second Olympics appearance, and on the personal front, her relationship with her partner Monalisa is stronger than ever.

"Yes, I'm in a gay relationship. It is not a crime to love someone, it's everyone's right. To be able to spend your life with someone you like is what love is all about," Dutee told The Quint.

(This story was first published on 16 May 2022. It has been republished from The Quint’s archives to mark Pride Month.)

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