Sport is typically considered high-strung masculine, hyper-macho and most people associate masculinity with strength, in whatever form that may be. And when sportsmen come out as gay, they are considered as weak. Particularly, when female sportspersons come out, people believe they are playing into a stereotype. Bisexual and Lesbian women are considered less feminine in our society because of the standards of how people believe sexuality, physical appearance, and gender roles are deeply rooted in the minds of people. Yet, many international sports players like, boxer Orlando Cruz, football player Anton Hysen, basketball player Diana Taurasi, diver Tom Daley and Volleyball player Douglas Douza have come out openly as a part of LGBTQ community. However, in India, the only sportsperson who has openly come out as a part of the LGBTQ community is Dutee Chand.

Dutee Chand is an Indian sprinter and she is India's first athlete to openly come out as a part of the LGBTQ community when she spoke about being in a same-sex relationship in 2019. Dutee was born on 3 February 1996 in Odisha, and she belongs to a below poverty line weavers’ family. Dutee took inspiration from her sister Saraswati Chand, who competed in running competitions at the state level. And now Dutee Chand is a professional sprinter and current national champion in the women's 100m events. She is the third woman to ever qualify for the women's 100m event at the Summer Olympic Games. In 2018, she grabbed a silver medal in women's 100m at the Jakarta Asian Games, and it was India's first medal in this event since 1998. In 2019, Dutee became the first Indian sprinter to win a gold medal at the Universiade, clocking 11.32 seconds in the 100m race.

Dutee Chand has opened new doors of discussions about queerness in sports. What Dutee Chand has brought is far more than just her story, she has brought visibility to a section of society which is considered a taboo in Indian society even after getting legalised. In September 2018, the Supreme Court of India decriminalised same-sex relationships by eradicating section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which was unconstitutional and violated an individual's right to privacy. But as we all know, the law does not always benefit the vulnerable, particularly in the case of LGBTQ individuals. Even Dutee Chand worried for her safety after she decided to reveal her sexuality provoked a massive backlash in her home village Chaka Gopalpur in Odisha.

The massive backlash happened just after Dutee told some reporters about her gay partner in an interview in May 2019. Dutee's mother, Akhuji Chand, expressed her views in an interview with the Indian Express by saying, “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?” A villager named Prashant Behra 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”. Even after all the hatred, she was praised by a lot of people for her courage while coming out and several people called it a watershed moment for the Indian society. However, the backlash is thought to have taken her back and her partner has now left for another town due to brutal remarks by people in Chaka Gopalpur.

Dutee Chand expressed her struggle of 4 years when she was controversially not allowed to compete in any international sports events due to hyperandrogenism, which is a medical condition denoted by high levels of androgens in females. The symptoms of this condition may include inflamed skin, increased body, and infrequent menstruation, etc. Dutee Chand was similarly concerned about her friend Caster Semenya, and she wrote a mail to the multiple Olympic & World Championship winner, offering the South African to take legal support from her team about the same topic related to hyperandrogenism. She explained to Indian Express, “These four years have been extremely tough for me. The negativity, fear of my career ending prematurely, insensitive comments about my body, I have faced them all. I am extremely relieved that I can run fearlessly again, knowing that now my battle exists only on the track and not off it”. Dutee replies all her haters with her incredible achievements in sports and that's the reason that she was honoured with Arjuna Award in August 2020. Dutee Chand told ANI, “These awards motivate an athlete to achieve more in upcoming tournaments. It will motivate me for the next year's Tokyo Olympics, and it will act as an inspiration for young athletes. I will try hard to win more medals for the country and make India proud”.

Dutee's personal choices and opinions of people never stopped her from achieving her goals in life. Her coming out story carries a lot of weight in changing the conversations about the LGBTQ community, and it perhaps gives that courage to youth around the nation struggling with their sexuality and speaking openly about it. It brings visibility to a section that until recently, were subjected to harassment, blackmail and violence. In a nation where viewers are all excited to click pictures of cricketers, footballers and their significant others, Dutee Chand is similarly a breath of revolutionary air, and hopefully creates an era where "Two Girls In A Relationship” is not addressed with homophobia. Dutee has become a true inspiration for the youth of India.