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Anti-LGBT+ Violence In Puerto Rico Is On The Rise, The HRC Responds

In the last 15 months, there have been at least 10 deaths of LGBT+ individuals in Puerto Rico making it the highest number of killings that the country has seen in a decade. Over the past 2 months alone 5 killings have been noted.

“There is a crisis facing LGBTQ people in Puerto Rico” said HRC President Alphonso David. “This violence must end. Each of the 10 people who have been killed had a family, friends and a community. When we lose someone, especially under violent circumstances, it leaves a long trail of unshakeable trauma. The Human Rights Campaign is committed to supporting our partners on the ground and the Puerto Rican LGBTQ community as long as it takes for the government to take this seriously.”

Tori Cooper, director of community engagement for the HRC Transgender Justice Initiative said that “The entire HRC family is saddened by the tragic murders of more of our sisters. We are committed to fighting for policies and protections for all transgender, nonbinary and queer people in Puerto Rico and across the world.”

“They are killing us while the government looks the other way. We demand that the police and the government immediately deal with this crisis of violence against LGBTIQ people. It is their duty to conduct investigations openly and thoroughly, and to report the status of their investigations in accordance with hate crime protocols,” said Pedro Julio Serrano, spokesperson for the Broad Committee for the Search for Equity (CABE in Spanish).

Serrano added, “The violence we are experiencing is rooted in rhetoric and hateful actions on the part of religious fundamentalist politicians who incite their followers to persecute, demonize and attack LGBTIQ people. We’ve had enough of being used as scapegoats for their divisive agendas.”

Carlos Rodríguez, pastor, author, and founder/director of The Happy Non-Profit stated that “Five women who were loved by God have been murdered. They deserved safety, dignity and solidarity. There are a great many people in Puerto Rico, religious and secular, who believe that the church should do more to love and protect LGBTIQ people. We are here, we exist, and our numbers are far greater than those who would resort to violence in the face of difference. We are all in this fight together.”

“The foundations of my spiritual life were formed in an evangelical church in the countryside of Puerto Rico. That is where I learned that at the core of Christianity is an ethic of justice, love and inclusion, all of which have informed my life’s work as I have fought against hate and exclusion, personally and professionally. HRC is working closely with our partners on the ground in Puerto Rico to rapidly respond to this growing crisis,” said Michael Vazquez, director of HRC Foundation’s Religion and Faith Program.

A few weeks ago the HRC commemorated the lives if three trans women who were brutally killed in Puerto Rico. 

Read related myGwork articles here:

Two Trans Women Murdered In Puerto Rico

Trans Woman Killed In Puerto Rico After Using Women's Bathroom

Puerto Rico Governor to Ban Gay Conversion Therapy

Puerto Rico allows transgender people to correct gender on birth certificates

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