Globally popular television show host Ellen DeGeneres, an advocate for gay rights, has said that she is proud of Indian sportswoman Dutee Chand.
Chand, a 100m record holder and winner of two Asian Games silver medals, recently opened up about her homosexuality. She revealed that she is in a same-sex relationship with a girl from her home town.
She is the first openly gay Indian athlete.
Praising Chand for embracing her sexuality openly, DeGeneres tweeted: "She's the 100m record holder and the first openly gay sportsperson in India. I guess she knows a thing or two about being first. I'm so proud of her."
For Chand, the Supreme Court verdict in September 2018 that decriminalised same-sex relationships between consenting adults provided the impetus for them to arrive at a decision of spending their lives with each other.
"When the Supreme Court ruling came on Section 377, then we decided that there is no harm in spending our lives with each other. We decided that we will get married and have a small family for ourselves.
"She is from my town and a sports fan herself. She read about the struggles that I have gone through to make a career in sports and told me that she was inspired by my story. That is how we came in touch with each other," Chand said.
However, the Indian sportsperson faced backlash from her own family, who is unwilling to accept the relationship.
“My eldest sister kind of wields power and authority in my family. She has thrown out my elder brother from home because she does not like his wife.
“She has threatened me that same will happen to me. But I am also an adult who has individual freedom. So, I decided to go ahead with this and make it public.
"My eldest sister feels that my partner is interested in my property. She has told me that she will send me to jail for having this relationship,” Chand said.