The remarkable rebellion of Dutee Chand

The daughter of impoverished parents is India’s first openly gay athlete. But what we will remember and judge her for is being a first-rate athlete.

Dutee Chand is not known to shy away from a challenge. One of seven children born to impoverished weavers in Jajpur, Odisha, the sprinter was barely 20 years old when she challenged the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) on its rule on hyperandrogenism, a condition she is born with and one that causes naturally high levels of testosterone in women.

The IAAF suggested she opt for corrective surgery or hormone treatment. She went to court instead.

Questions about her gender were played out in humiliating public view. At Switzerland’s Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), she argued that her privacy and human rights had been violated.

Continue reading “The remarkable rebellion of Dutee Chand”

Supreme Court shouldn’t just decriminalise homosexuality. Its verdict must also foster inclusion

In, I argue that the judgment on the just-concluded arguments for and against section 377, the section that criminalises sex ‘against the order of nature’, must go beyond mere decriminalisation. It must ensure freedom,  choice and rights for every citizen — more so at a time when the plurality of India is sought to be reduced to a monolithic identity of one nation and one predominant religion.

I had not planned it but during a visit to London I found myself bang in the middle of a pride parade on July 7.

As a swirl of 30,000 people, including ambulance and fire services and scores of companies, marched for gay pride, it was hard not to be moved by or caught up in the moment. Police officers in uniform kept vigil, some with the colours of the rainbow painted on their faces. An estimated one million people, according to the BBC, lined the streets to cheer them on, united by one belief: the right to love, to just be who you are.

How many years would it take, I wondered, for such a spectacular turnout in India? Continue reading “Supreme Court shouldn’t just decriminalise homosexuality. Its verdict must also foster inclusion”