LGBT+ athletes should be allowed to live without fear: Dutee Chand | Commonwealth Games 2022 News

BIRMINGHAM: Condemning homophobia, India’s first openly gay athlete Duty Chand called for LGBT+ people to be allowed to live without “fear of persecution or death”.
From facing a barrage of criticism from her family after announcing she was in a same-sex relationship, to taking part in Queen’s Baton here to shed light on homophobia in Commonwealth countries alongside the synchronized diver Briton and Olympic gold medalist Tom Daley, life has come full circle for Dutee.
Dutee sent a powerful message against homophobia by holding an LGBTQIA+ flag during the opening ceremony of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
“LGBT+ athletes should feel safe and comfortable, be themselves without fear of persecution or death,” Dutee told PTI.

Language was a hindrance, but spending a few moments with Daley boosted Dutee’s confidence.
“He taught me a few steps while the music was playing. It was great fun. I also got to meet Prince Charles,” Dutee said.
“I didn’t interact much as I barely speak English, but he told me ‘don’t be scared’ and ‘I’m your biggest supporter’. It really boosted my confidence as we jigged. Such a beautiful memory.
The athlete from Odisha, who hails from a nondescript village of Chaka Gopalpur, accompanied Daley and four others on the final leg of Queen’s Baton at Alexander Stadium.
“I suffered a lot of bullying, there were a few who supported me. Most of my parents stopped talking to me,” Dutee recalls.
For the double asian games silver medalist, it will be his young daughter CTM. She will run the 100m sprint and also the 4x100m relay with her teammate Srabani Nanda, Hima Das and NS Simi.
“When I first acknowledged my relationship status, I didn’t know about the LGBTQ+ movement. People laughed at me and told me I was ‘mentally ill’ and used swear words in audience.
“I’ve had sleepless nights, but now things have changed for the better. I never thought this would ever happen and I would be invited as a CWG brand ambassador. It wouldn’t have could have been bigger than that. Now everything has stopped and the same people come up to me and show me respect.”
About two months earlier, Dutee received an invitation from the Birmingham Games to be the brand ambassador and join four-time Commonwealth gold medalist Daley.
“It was such an honor and IOA gave me permission to be part of the walk. It will be a moment to cherish forever,” Dutee said.
At Thursday’s opening ceremony, the 28-year-old diving star made a powerful “historic” statement as he unfurled the Pride flag.
Daley also posted a photo with LGBT athletes from across the Commonwealth, including Dutee.
Dutee further said she was ready to compete in the 100m in Birmingham.
“I’m looking forward to participating in the sprint and also the relay. Everything is on the right track”, concluded Dutee overexcited.

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