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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Participation of trans athletes in sports discussed at House hearing

Rep. Lisie Burgos Muñiz

By The Star Staff

The Social Welfare Committee in the island House of Representatives on Thursday discussed House Bill 764, which seeks to limit the participation of trans athletes in sports, with the Puerto Rico Olympic Committee (COPUR by its Spanish acronym) expressing its opposition to the measure.

COPUR President Sara Rosario said the transgender population in sports is not significantly large.

“Of this population, those who come to the sport are a small part. At the Tokyo Olympics, only four out of 6,700 athletes were transgender, representing 0.0006 percent,” Rosario said in a written statement.

Rosario argued that the ban would go against the inclusion of a sector of the population.

“The way in which this bill is presented would leave out the participation of a possible minority population that should not be discriminated against and deserves to have participation in sport,” she said.

“We will continue working to protect women’s spaces and rights,” said Rep. Lisie Burgos Muñiz, who chairs the committee.

During the hearing, various representatives of the sports and education sector presented their arguments.

Recreation and Sports Secretary Ray Quiñones Vázquez advocated for the approval of the measure, as long as international sports rules are not altered.

“We have no objection to the approval of this bill subject to it not altering the general and technical sports rules formulated by the sports regulatory bodies at the international level,” Quiñones Vázquez emphasized.

“There is no doubt that the differences between men and women involved in sports activities influence the level of sports performance,” he added. “The natural physical and biological differences between men and women are the basis for the division of most sports disciplines. This distinction has allowed both sexes to face opponents in similar conditions, which provides the opportunity to compete equally and fairly.”

Félix Angel Pérez Rivera of the Department of Education also endorsed the legislation.

“This issue is one which, despite being novel, has provoked passionate discussions from people who support one measure or the other,” he noted. “Even transgender people and former Olympic medalists have spoken out in favor of maintaining the categories by which most sports are governed.”

“To the extent that the [Education] Department has already established and maintained the age and sex categories in sporting events and school competitions, we have no objection to the approval of the measure,” Pérez Rivera said.

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