Transsexual player Andrea Paredes of Chile has received a wild card to compete in $25,000 Futures event in Buenos Aires.

A 37-year-old financial consultant from Chile who became the first transsexual to compete in professional women’s tennis since Renee Richards in the late 1970s and early 1980s, has told how she was encouraged to play by the American’s story.

Andrea Paredes also disclosed how she has suffered from years of discrimination in her own country, “as they are not very advanced in Chile”. “I’ll get more comments in Chile after this tournament, but I’m tough. I’ve had to be.”

Paredes, who was born Ernesto, had a sex-change operation in 2000. She was intrigued to hear about Richards, who was born Richard Raskind, had an operation to change sexes, was initially blocked by the American tennis authorities from playing at the US Open, and then successfully sued them through the Supreme Court to have the ban overturned. A year after her first appearance, Richards made the quarter-finals of the grand slam in America.

The International Tennis Federation said that they cleared Paredes to play after they were shown documentation of her operation and hormone treatment.

Three years after Ernesto became Andrea, she learned about Richards. “I had the sex-change operation in 2000, after a lot of psychiatric and psychological tests. I heard about Renee Richards in 2003, and it was sometime in 2004 that I thought about the possibility that I could one day play a professional tournament,” Paredes said in an interview after her appearance on the clay courts of the Parque Roca. Although Paredes lives and trains in Chile, she travelled to more liberal Argentina to make her first appearance. “I’ve got a financial consulting business that gives me a lot of time to play tennis. I live and train in Chile. I have suffered discrimination and comments in Chile, as they are not very advanced in Chile with their mindset. They discriminate against transsexuals and gays, that sort of thing. I will probably get more comments when I get back to Chile after this tournament, and I think I’m probably going to have to fight with the tennis federation in my country. I don’t think I will hear good things. But the comments won’t bother me,” said Paredes.



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