Star Indian sprinter Dutee Chand said that revealing that she is in a same-sex relationship last year led to people looking at her and her partner differently but it doesn’t bother her.

The 24-year-old, considered the fastest Indian woman right now, has asked those in same-sex relationships to be courageous and stand firm.

“One may fall in love anytime and with anyone. One does not decide that based on caste, religion or gender,” she said in an online interaction with US Consul General in Hyderabad Joel Reifman.

In May last year, she had revealed that she was in a relationship with a woman from her village in Odisha. She became India’s first athlete to come out and openly declare herself as member of the LGBTQ community. She revealed she faced backlash from her family and came out only after blackmail from her sister.

“My partner supported me every time and I have chosen her for my life. People may look at us differently or call us by any name like gay, lesbian etc. That does not matter so far as we get to spend our lives with each other,” she added.

Dutee Chand, a trailblazer: From challenging gender norms to being India’s 1st openly LGBTQ athlete

“For all who are in love but afraid of the world you must show courage because the world has always taken time to accept all good things,” she said. “So please do not be afraid because it is your life and your happiness.”

After her public disclosure, Chand became the first Indian woman track and field athlete to clinch a gold in the World University Games by winning the 100m dash in a time of 11.32 seconds. She is a national record holder in women’’s 100m with a time of 11.26 seconds. She also won a silver each in 100m and 200m in the 2018 Asian Games.

With PTI Inputs