India’s top female athlete, Dutee Chand has been praised for her courage coming out as gay in public. however, her family back home in her village in India and the locals in the village have greeted the news with hostility according to the Guardian.
The local reaction from the village Odisha was unfavorable, the sprinter told reporters that on 19 May that her gay partner was her soulmate.
According to the Indian Express, Chand’s Mother, Akhuji, told them “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 member of the village, Prashant Behra, added, “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.”
Despite the disapproving view from the village, Chand, 23, received encouragement for coming out. Many have called it a milestone for the Indian society, which has hardly any gay celebrities.
The backlash has caused her partner to leave for another town because of the malicious remarks from the people in their village.
Chand said, “Everyone I know in the city where I studied supports me. I don’t know if my family and village will come round.”
As attitudes towards homosexuality in urban India is changing, the idea of young same-sex couple dating is still frowned upon. it was only last year that the supreme court lifted the ban on “gay sex”, however, the new implemented rule has had little effect in local villages.
Nevertheless, Chand stands strong saying, “I am grown up. I will spend my life with who I want, but I will also fulfil my responsibility to my family.”