New Delhi: Dutee Chand, the first openly homosexual athlete from India, scripted history in 2019 when she became the first Indian to win a gold in a 100 metre event at the World Universiade in Naples.
Journalist Sundeep Mishra’s book titled ‘Fiercely Female: The Dutee Chand Story’ chronicles Chand’s journey with a detailed narrative of the gender-identity controversy that made her an iconic figure in Indian sport.
Published by Westland Books, the book will be released on 22 June on ‘SoftCover’ —ThePrint’s e-venue to launch select non-fiction books.
Coming from a small village in Odisha, Dutee Chand went on to hold the national record in the women’s 100 metres and is only the fifth Indian to participate in the women’s 100 metres at the Olympics when she qualified for the 2016 Rio Games.
However, controversy regarding her gender identity abruptly interrupted her dreams as she was dropped from the 2014 Commonwealth Games on the charge that she was ineligible to compete as a female athlete.
Chand took the fight all the way to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, which suspended the ban on her by the Indian body as well as the International Association of Athletics Federations.
This 2015 decision has had an enormous impact on international athletics and discriminatory ‘hyperandrogenism’ (excessive testosterone circulating in female bodies) policies.
In 2018, after the Supreme Court read down Section 377 and decriminalised homosexuality, Chand became the first Indian sportsperson to openly acknowledge being in a same-sex relationship.
Author and journalist Sundeep Misra has written two books on Indian hockey — an unauthorised biography on hockey player Dhanraj Pillay, Forgive Me Amma: The Life and Times of Dhanraj Pillay (2007), and a collection of long-form essays titled The Mohammed of Benares and Other Stories (2017).
He also put together India’ first anthology of sports writing, The Best of Indian Sports Writing in 2013.
Misra has worked and written extensively for leading media houses such as The Indian Express, Asian Age and India Today. He currently writes for Firstpost, The Caravan, Khaleej Times, Mid-Day and The Tribune. He was also the sports editor of TV channel News X and then the founder editor-in-chief of Sports Illustrated India.