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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Bill banning inclusive bathrooms in gov’t agencies to go to mark-up session

Rep. Lisie Burgos Muñiz, in right foreground (Johanna Sánchez)

By The Star Staff

House Bill 1740, which would ban inclusive bathrooms in government agencies, is about to go to a mark-up session in the corresponding House committee, the measure’s author, Dignity Project Rep. Lisie Burgos Muñiz, confirmed this week.

The proposal for the “Law for the Protection and Safety of Women in Multiple Public Bathrooms” was officially filed on May 11, 2023. Since then, it has been under review by the Judiciary and Social Welfare, People with Disabilities & Older Adults committees since May 23 of the same year.

“What [the bill] aims to do is to respect women’s space. I, as a woman, am not willing to give my spaces to other people. […],” the lawmaker said in a radio interview. “Right now both men and women enter UPR [University of Puerto Rico] bathrooms. All kinds of people come in. And the students tell me, ‘Look, we fear for our safety.’ I understand that everyone has rights, but they cannot take away my rights as a woman to give them to some communities. I think they should make bathrooms specifically for them. They also have dignity, their dignity must also be protected. We’re going to make some bathrooms for them too, but don’t take away my privacy. That is constitutionally protected.”

Burgos said she has evidence that there are states in the United States where attacks have been reported when inclusive bathrooms have been allowed. Likewise, she noted, a well-known gym on the island saw a decrease in its enrollment after opting for such a decision.

“People are not interested in going into a bathroom with another person of a different sex,” the legislator reiterated.

Proyecto Matria Director Cristina Parés insisted meanwhile that Burgos’ bill is legislation based on hatred, exclusion, and prohibition, and is an example of the lack of education with a gender perspective.

“People go to the bathroom no matter what. […] And we would love for the representative to show us serious studies that support a ban like this, based on hate,” she said. “[…] She would ban anyone who does not look exactly how she understands a person should look to enter a bathroom.”

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