(WB) Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Pierluisi on Friday clarified his state of emergency declaration over gender violence on the island includes LGBT people.

“It’s been too long, this pattern of male chauvinism-related violence, femicides, homophobic and transphobic violence,” he said during an interview with ABC News’ “GMA3.” “We want to promote diversity, respect each other.”

Pierluisi’s comments come eight days after he issued an executive order that declared the state of emergency.

The governor noted to “GMA3” there were 67 femicide victims in Puerto Rico in 2020, but his order did not specifically reference sexual orientation and gender identity. Pierluisi said his administration has earmarked $6 million “to increase the resources of all the agencies dealing with this.”

“I want them protected,” he said, specifically referring to women, trans and LGBT Puerto Ricans.

Seven trans people in Puerto Rico have been reported murdered over the last year. Violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity remain commonplace in the U.S. commonwealth, even though its hate crimes and nondiscrimination laws are LGBT-inclusive.

“Governor Pedro Pierluisi yesterday during an interview with a U.S. media outlet made an emphatic defense of LGBTTIQ+ people by including them in his declaration of a state of emergency over gender violence,” said Pedro Julio Serrano, founder of Puerto Rico Para [email protected], a Puerto Rican LGBT advocacy group, on Saturday in a statement. “We appreciate this expressed and unequivocal inclusion.”

“We are ready to help him with the creation of public policies that reaffirm this defense of our dignity as human beings,” he added.

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