Recent Developments in Queer Puerto Rican History, Politics, and Culture.
In this survey article, I go over many of these developments and also offer a timeline spanning from 2002 to 2018. I include additional bibliographical references for many of the authors and events discussed in this special issue of CENTRO Journal on Revisiting Queer Puerto Rican Sexualities (2018), which I coedited with Yolanda Martinez-San Miguel. We envision this thematic and chronological appendix as a useful teaching tool that can serve to raise awareness about the complex reality of contemporary Puerto Rican LGBTQ matters. We hope that the following subsections, timeline, and list of works cited contribute to a better understanding of these topics and complement the articles included in this issue.
Legal Activism, Marriage Rights, Adoption, Name and Sex Change on Documents, and the Sexual Orientation and Public Identity of Lawyers and Judges
The last twenty years have been marked by activist struggles in Puerto Rico and the diaspora regarding anti-sodomy laws, protection against domestic violence, same-sex couples' marriage rights, adoption rights, ability to run for and win political office, and transgender persons' right to change their name and gender on legal documents. Activists have mobilized in diverse ways and recurred to the courts as a strategy to obtain civil rights. Many of these lawsuits have been initially unsuccessful, but have served as a public forum to articulate new conceptions of jurisprudence that can attend to the realities of LGBTQ or gender non-conforming persons.
In some notable cases, legal victories have brought about profound change. These have occurred both at the local and federal level. Given Puerto Rico's colonial status, decisions made in the Supreme Court of the United States such as Lawrence v. Texas in 2003, which decriminalized same-sex sexual relations between consenting adults (previously referred to as sodomy), and Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015, which established the right of same-sex couples to marry, have the potential to profoundly impact life in the Puerto Rican archipelago and for Puerto Ricans in the diaspora. Yet, it is important to note that Lawrence v. Texas was anteceded in Puerto Rico by the decriminalization of sodomy (its deletion from the Penal Code) three days earlier, on June 23, 2003, as a result of legislative action led by the Popular Democratic Party senate majority, as scholar Juana Maria Rodriguez (2007, 136; 2014, 88-89) has observed. (4) At other times, local struggles ensure access to rights, such as the recent victory in Arroyo Gonzalez et al. v. Rossello Nevares et al. in April of 2018; this case had as its goal "to permit transgender persons born in Puerto Rico to correct their birth certificates to accurately reflect their true sex" (2018, 1).
One notable case of a legal setback which is also analyzed by Rodriguez is Sanchez et al. v. Puerto Rico (2002), when the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico dismissed a high-profile case brought by Reverend Margarita Sanchez de Leon challenging the sodomy law; the court kept intact the provisions of Article 103 of the Penal Code criminalizing same-sex intercourse. (5) (Sanchez famously demanded to be arrested in 1997 for committing the crime of sodomy as a strategy to raise awareness about this issue.) Another example is Pueblo v. Ruiz Martinez (2003), where the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico held that same-sex couples were excluded from the protections granted to "relaciones consensuales" (consensual relationships) under the Prevention and Intervention of Domestic Violence Law, known as Act (Ley) 54, despite the gender-neutral language of the statute. The per curiam decision was accompanied by two separate written dissenting opinions, one by Associate Judge Federico Hernandez Denton, joined by Associate Judge Miriam Naveira de Rodon, and the other by Associate Judge Jaime Fuster Berlingeri. A third example is Ex parte A.A.R. (2013), in which the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico determined that the Puerto Rican Civil Code prohibited same-sex second parent adoption of a minor child raised by the same-sex couple. (6)
One of the most fiercely contested issues in the last decades was access to equal marriage, which was banned in Puerto Rico until 2015. Starting in 2003, when equal marriage was approved in Massachusetts and in Toronto, Ontario (Canada), many Puerto Rican couples traveled from the archipelago to other jurisdictions to get married. (7) On March 26, 2014, activist Ada Mercedes Conde Vidal and her partner Ivonne Alvarez Velez of San Juan filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Puerto Rico seeking recognition of their Massachusetts marriage. (8) On June 24, 2014, they were joined by activists and writers Zulma Oliveras Vega and Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro and by three additional couples. (9) U.S. District Judge Juan Perez-Gimenez eventually ruled against the plaintiffs. (10) In this case, it was only the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision that ensured justice; on August 16, 2015, sixty-four same-sex couples married in a massive wedding in Old San Juan. (11) Yet paradoxically, even a legal victory in the Supreme Court of the United States does not always guarantee the civil rights of LGBTQ populations in Puerto Rico. For example, Judge Perez-Gimenez upheld the same-sex marriage ban on March 8, 2016, arguing that Obergefell v. Hodges did not apply in Puerto Rico because of the island's colonial territorial status. (12) Perez-Gimenez's decision was opposed by the Puerto Rico Department of Justice and was overturned by the First Circuit of Appeals in Boston on April 7, 2016. (13)
Transgender rights have become highly central and visible, particularly the right of having state-issued documents that match gender expression; lack of consonant documents creates very serious problems, particularly when engaging with police, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) or U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents, the health system, and potential employers. (14) Two contrasting lawsuits, with opposite results, serve to illustrate this struggle: Ex parte Delgado Hernandez (2005) and Arroyo Gonzalez et al. v. Rossello Nevares et al. (2018), as Joel Castro Perez explores in his article in this issue of CENTRO Journal. In the first case, on June 30, 2005, the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico held that the Demographic Registry Law did not allow a change of sex marker for transsexual petitioner, overturning a previous Supreme Court's order (Ex parte Andino Torres (2000)) granting petitioner's request to change the sex marker on her birth certificate and driver's license. (15) In the case of Ex parte Delgado Hernandez, Associate Justice Anabelle Rodriguez Rodriguez wrote for the majority while Associate Justice Liana Fiol Matta and Associate Justice Jaime Fuster Berlingeri each wrote separate dissenting opinions and Associate Justice Efrain E. Rivera Perez wrote a concurring opinion. As Associate Justice Fuster Berlingeri stated in his dissent:
Para mi resulta claro el curso de accion que por razones de Derecho y de solidaridad humana deberiamos tomar. Sobran los fundamentos juridicos para acceder a lo que se nos solicita, conforme a lo que resolvimos en Ex-parte Andino, supra. No hacerlo no solo constituye el injustificado y ominoso abandono de un precedente nuestro sino ademas el rechazo a compadecernos de la honda desdicha de un ser humano. Se falta asi tanto a la justicia como a un deber de solidaridad.
En resumen, no estamos decidiendo ahora aqui si son validos o no los llamados 'matrimonios' de homosexuales o las llamadas uniones de hecho de personas del mismo sexo, ni ningun otro escabroso asunto similar. Solo se trata aqui de ayudar a un ser humano que ha sufrido una angustiosa existencia a que su vida futura sea un poco mas llevadera, mediante la modificacion de dos documentos particulares. Lamento que la mayoria del Tribunal no comparta esta vision, y disiento de su dictamen. (2005, 8-9)
History has sided with the line of thinking that Associate Justice Fuster Berlingeri espoused above. This became apparent in 2018 with the favorable ruling of U.S. District Court Judge Carmen Consuelo Cerezo in the case of Arroyo Gonzalez et al. v. Rossello Nevares et al. (16)
On April 20, 2018, the Federal District Court for the District of Puerto Rico struck down as unconstitutional Puerto Rico's prohibition against changing the sex marker on birth certificates and driver's licenses of transgender petitioners, signaling a major change for transgender persons in Puerto Rico. The lawsuit was filed by 19-year-old student Daniela Arroyo Gonzalez along with the well-known trans activist Victoria Rodriguez Roldan, who is currently the Trans/Gender Non-Conforming Justice Project Director at the National LGBTQ Task Force, an additional trans man only identified by his initials (J.G.), and the organization Puerto Rico Para Tod@s (Puerto Rico for All); the plaintiffs were represented by Lambda Legal, a national U.S. LGBT legal rights organization. (17) As Judge Cerezo wrote in her opinion,
The right to identify our own existence lies at the heart of one's humanity. And so, we must heed their voices: "the woman that I am," "the man that I am." Plaintiffs know they are not fodder for memoranda legalese. They have stepped up for those whose voices, debilitated by raw discrimination, have been hushed into silence. They cannot wait for another generation, hoping for a lawmaker to act. They, like Linda Brown, took the steps to the courthouse to demand what is due: their right to exist, to live more and die less. (Arroyo Gonzalez et al. v. Rossello Nevares et al. 2018, 16)
In her powerful statement, Judge Cerezo invokes the figure of Linda Brown, the third-grade child at the center of the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education U.S. Supreme Court case that led to the desegregation of public schools in the United States. As Judge Cerezo indicates, for transgender persons, having legal recognition of their identity is a matter of life or death. The first successful birth certificate change petitions occurred on July 16, 2018, including that of trans activist Ivana Fred, and received positive news coverage. (18)
Finally, it is worth pointing out advances regarding the openly-declared LGB sexual orientation of judges and of lawyers in positions of leadership and how it might indicate shifting mores. For example, the openly-lesbian black Puerto Rican lawyer and activist Ana Irma Rivera Lassen (interviewed by Frances Negron-Muntaner in this issue) was elected to serve as the president of the Colegio de Abogados de Puerto Rico (Bar Association of Puerto Rico) from 2012 to 2014; she is only the third woman to serve in this role, and the first openly gay president of the Bar Association. (19) Meanwhile, on July 15, 2014, Maite Oronoz Rodriguez was sworn in as Associate Justice to the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico; she is the Court's first openly gay justice. (20) On February 22, 2016, she was confirmed as Chief Justice of the Puerto Rico Supreme Court, the first openly gay Chief Justice to be appointed to a state or territorial Supreme Court in the United States. (21) Future scholarship will determine the impact of her presence in the court and the relevance (if any) of her sexual orientation on her legal thought.
Politics: Elected Officials, Community Activism, Legislative Change, Conservative Backlash
As the political scientist John A. Garcia has indicated in Latino Politics in America (2017), the realm of politics entails diverse geographic scales (whether neighborhood, city, state, and nation, or local, regional, archipelagic, and transnational) and combines party politics with grassroots activism. The substantial challenges faced by openly-gay candidates such as onetime New Progressive Party (NPP) member Pedro Julio Serrano, who failed to achieve his party's support in 1998, and the vociferous homophobic slurs launched against individuals who do not self-identify as LGBT, such as Zaida "Cucusa" Hernandez (NPP) and Eduardo Bhatia of the Popular Democratic Party (PDP), highlight the persistence of bias at the formal (institutional) level in Puerto Rico. (22) For this reason, the electoral victory on November 6, 2012, of long-time activist Pedro Peters Maldonado (PDP) for the San Juan Municipal Legislature is very significant, as he became the first openly gay candidate to win public office on the island. (23) Openly-LGBTQ Puerto Rican politicians have fared slightly better in the United States, particularly in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York, including Margarita Lopez, Rosie Mendez, Nelson Rafael Roman, Pedro Segarra (the openly-gay former mayor of Hartford, CT), and Jossie Valentin. (24) Openly gay Puerto Ricans also serve in positions of leadership in national organizations, such as Anthony D. Romero, who has been the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) since 2001. (25)
Conversely, individual homophobic politicians such as Thomas Rivera Schatz (NPP) and Maria Milagros (Tata) Charbonier (NPP) and groups such as Puerto Rico por la Familia (Puerto Rico for the Family) have actively worked against LGBTQ rights. (26) Generalized intolerance against the LGBTQ population became apparent on February 18, 2013, when thousands participated in a march at the Capitol of Puerto Rico against the anti-discrimination amendments on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity under consideration in the Legislature. (27) The march was organized by Puerto Rico por la Familia "en defensa de la familia, el matrimonio, la ninez y la vida" (in defense of the family, matrimony, childhood and life). A small group known as the Movimiento Inclusivo de Apoyo a la Comunidad (Inclusive Movement to Support the Community) organized a countermarch. (28)
Politics frequently occur at the grassroots level through diverse progressive organizations. Currently, one of the most visible coalitions in Puerto Rico is CABE (Comite Amplio para la Busqueda de Equidad), a work group that includes community organizations with a human rights focus, LGBT groups, and professional organizations that support the human rights of LGBT communities. (29) The coalition has been represented by figures such as Larry Emil Alicea Rodriguez (President of the Colegio de Profesionales del Trabajo Social de Puerto Rico) and by lawyer and activist Ana Irma Rivera Lassen. CABE was created in 2013 in order to support legislative projects that led to the approval of Acts 22 and 23 that same year. In their volume Queer Brown Voices: Personal Narratives of Latina/o LGBT Activism (2015), Uriel Quesada, Letitia Gomez, and Salvador Vidal-Ortiz include testimonies by a range of additional Puerto Rican activists including Luz Guerra, Moises Agosto-Rosario, Olga Orraca Paredes, and Wilfred W. Labiosa.
This type of support can be crucial for progressive politicians, particularly in a hostile environment. For example, on May 29, 2013, Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla (PDP) enacted Act 22-2013 (Ley 22-2013) to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in public and private employment. The same day, the governor also enacted Act 23-2013 (Ley 23-2013) to amend Act 54 to extend its domestic violence prevention and intervention protections to all people in a consensual relationship regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. (30)
These gains are never guaranteed or stable. One example of a setback occurred in March 2017, when Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz rescinded an administrative order that allowed transgender employees to use facilities consistent with their gender identity. At the time, activists accused him of violating Law 22 of 2013, which guaranteed workplace protections. (31) In a separate incident, Rivera Schatz proceeded to misgender openly-lesbian Junta de Control Fiscal (Financial Oversight and Management Board) member Ana Matosantos, referring to her twice as "el senor Matosantos" (Mr. Matosantos) on a radio show on July 3, 2017. (32) Rivera Schatz was denounced by activist Pedro Julio Serrano and by U.S. Congressman Luis Gutierrez. (33) While many progressive lesbian activists strongly oppose the federal PROMESA law and the unlawful imposition of a federal control board over Puerto Rico, attacking one of the board's members with accusations of female masculinity constitutes an unwarranted act of sexist and lesbophobic aggression.
Public Education at the Primary and Secondary Level: Controversies over Perspectiva de Genero and School Uniforms
One of the most contested arenas in the last decade in Puerto Rico has been recognition of gender identity and sexual diversity in public education. (34) Here, we see dramatic shifts varying by political administration, and massive protests by conservative religious groups that oppose any social change. For example, under the government of Governor Anibal Acevedo Vila (PDP), Act 108 (Ley 108) was signed into law on May 26, 2006, to amend the Organic Law of the Puerto Rico Department of Education to require the Department to design and implement a curriculum that promotes gender equity and prevents domestic violence ("Para anadir un inciso (bb) al Articulo 6.03 de la Ley Num. 149 de 15 de junio de 1999, segun enmendada, conocida como la Ley Organica del Departamento de Educacion, a los fines de imponer la obligacion al Departamento de Educacion de disenar e implantar un curriculo dirigido a promover la equidad por genero y la prevencion de violencia domestica en coordinacion con la Oficina de la Procuradora de las Mujeres"). This led to fierce debates and religious opposition in 2008-2009 over the Puerto Rico Department of Education's "Carta Circular" regarding "perspectiva de genero" (gender perspective). (35)
Similar opposition surfaced more recently in 2015. On February 16 of that year, Puerto Rican religious groups organized a Marcha Contra el Curriculo con Perspectiva de Genero (March against a Curriculum with Gender Perspective), positioning themselves against proposed Department of Education reforms. (36) A few days before (on February 12), CABE had positioned itself strongly in favor, as indicated by their spokesperson Osvaldo Burgos Perez and by other members of the organization such as Amarilis Pagan Jimenez, executive director of Proyecto Matria, a nonprofit organization that supports women who have been victims of domestic violence and that also provides LGBTQ awareness education. (37) In spite of the opposition, on February 25, 2015, Secretary of Education Rafael Roman Melendez emitted the Carta Circular 19-2014-2015 regarding the "Politica publica sobre la equidad de genero y su integracion al curriculo del Departamento de Educacion de Puerto Rico como instrumento para promover la dignidad del ser humano y la igualdad de todos y todas ante la ley" (Public Policy regarding Gender Equity and Its Integration to the Curriculum of the Puerto Rico Department of Education as an Instrument to Promote the Dignity of Human Beings and the equality of All before the Law).
The Secretary of Education then went on on September 9, 2015, to emit the Carta Circular 16-2015-2016 regarding school uniforms in public schools ("Directrices sobre el uso del uniforme escolar en el sistema publico de ensenanza en Puerto Rico") allowing students to decide what uniform to wear (whether skirt or pants) according to their personal preferences. As Directive 9 indicates, "No se impondra la utilizacion de una pieza particular de ropa a estudiantes que no se sientan comodos con la misma por su orientacion sexual o de identidad de genero. El Departamento de Educacion tiene la funcion primaria de atender el proceso de aprendizaje y no es participe del maltrato emocional que esto pueda generar" (Students shall not be forced to wear a particular item of clothing that makes them uncomfortable due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. The Department of Education has the primary function of assisting the learning process and is not a party to the emotional abuse that this may generate).
These gains in the Department of Education were short-lived and tied to the political clout of the Popular Democratic Party. Recent electoral victories by the New Progressive Party signaled a reverse, particularly under the administration of Governor Ricardo Rossello Nevarez (NPP). For example, on February 8, 2017, Puerto Rico Secretary of Education Julia Keleher emitted the Carta Circular 32-2016-2017 invalidating previous directives regarding the teaching of gender equity (Carta Circular 19-2014-2015) and the regulation regarding school uniforms ("el inciso 9 de las Directrices Generales de la Carta Circular 16-2015-2016 sobre uniformes escolares"). (38) In a separate incident in August 2018, debate ensued regarding a mural on "equidad de genero" painted by two students at a public school in Aibonito, when the students claimed they were told to remove it; the Department of Education ultimately allowed the mural to remain. (39)
Persistence of Violence
Anti-LGBTQ violence has been a constant for decades and serves as one of the main ways to maintain patriarchal and sexist structures and to limit social change; transgender women are one of the most seriously affected groups (Rodriguez-Madera et al. 2016). This violence has been documented in varied ways and is frequently presented in sensationalist tone, for example the coverage of the spate of crimes committed by serial killer Angel Colon Maldonado, referred to by the press as "El Angel de los Solteros" (The Angel of Single Men), who is believed to have killed 27 men in the mid-1980s in the San Juan metropolitan region, including the well-known social columnist Ivan Frontera. (40) More recently, the murder of Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado, a 19-year-old, aspiring makeup artist, clothing designer, and drag performer whose body was found decapitated, dismembered, and burned on November 14, 2009, in Cayey, caused similar distress. (41) This murder generated massive activist and scholarly responses and transnational news coverage. (42)
Equally shocking, the massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, on June 12, 2016, also garnered enormous attention, and led many to reflect on the effects of gun violence, homophobia, and intolerance in the United States. (43) The death of 49 persons, most of them LGBT, including 23 Puerto Ricans, and the injury of many more who were attending "Latin Night" at Pulse motivated Latinx activists, artists, writers, and scholars to react forcefully, particularly as mainstream media frequently neglected to mention the ethnic identity of the victims. (44) Among these scholars, Lilliana Ramos Collado (2016) reflected on the significance of the LGBTT monument designed by Alberto de la Cruz, which was erected in San Juan barely two weeks after the Pulse incident as a remembrance to the victims. (45) The monument stands at the site where the traditional yearly San Juan LGBTQ pride march concludes at Parque del Tercer Milenio near Escambron beach. Meanwhile, the LGBTQ Latinx community of Orlando has come together and created QLatinx, an organization that "seeks to center and empower the most marginalized members of our community, establish affirming and supportive healing spaces, build a strong and united community, and work towards a society free of fear, violence, and hate." (46)
Media (Particularly Television, including Boycotts, Activism, and Media Events)
Media--whether television, Internet, radio, or print--occupies a central role in forming public opinion and in representing diverse experiences. It can be a core site of support for sexual diversity but also for the transmission of harmful views and for the dissemination of intolerance. Whether it is news coverage or entertainment, media plays a central role in social debates.
Media scholar Felix Jimenez (2004) and historian Javier E. Laureano (2016) have noted how there is a long history of queer representation in Puerto Rican television. Yeidy M. Rivero (2005) has noted the controversies regarding singer Lucecita Benitez's masculine self-presentation, while Licia Fiol-Matta (2017) has commented on the queer nature of Myrta Silva's television program and persona, particularly of her undisclosed lesbianism.
One example of male effeminate TV representation is the character of "Guille" performed by actor and dancer Victor Alicea in Entrando por la cocina from 1986 to 2002, which has been seen by some as exemplary, particularly given the character's mostly positive reception. (47) More recently, the now openly-gay and pro-independence Alicea has used his radio platform as host of 'Machacando' con Susa y Epifanio on WIAC 740 AM and his theater appearances (for example in his 2015 play Los Golden Boys) to advance positive discussions of sexual diversity. (48)
Parodic (somewhat absurd) current representations in 2018 also include cisgender, heterosexual comedian Joshua Pauta's "Pauti La Presidenta," presented as an over-the-top, wig-wearing effeminate female character. (49) Representation of queer women has been less frequent, and in many cases these depictions are actually derogatory instead of celebratory. One example of a problematic representation of feminine masculinities is Jorge Pabon's (El Molusco) character "Buchi, bien femenina" presented through radio and in theater between 2009 and (approximately) 2013, which received mixed review from critics. (50)
Puerto Rican LGBTQ representation at a national (United States) and international level includes the appearance of Nina Flowers (Jorge Flores) and of over twenty additional Puerto Rican drag performers in the ten seasons of the television reality competition RuPaul's Drag Race since this program started airing on LOGO TV on February 2, 2009 (and more recently on VH1), leading to international careers for performers such as Flowers, Cynthia Lee Fontaine, and April Carrion. (51) These appearances on RuPaul's Drag Race have also been marked by the occasional enforcement of damaging stereotypes by the judges and by some contestants' bias against their peers' lack of English-language fluency and/or use of Hispanic English. (52)
Notably, Puerto Rican megastar Ricky Martin's coming out as gay on his website and on Twitter on March 29, 2010 (Martin's declaration "I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man"), generated significant international news coverage. (53) Martin's public disclosure coincided with the publication of his memoir titled Me in English and Yo in Spanish. At the same time, Martin has been the subject of attacks from the self-described "Apostol" (Apostle) and Evangelical media personality Pastor Wanda Rolon (also referred to as "Wanda Rolex," given her extravagant tastes and her penchant for expensive wristwatches), who has spoken disparagingly of the actor and musician, referring to Martin as an "embajador del infierno" (an ambassador from hell). (54)
Biased representation can be combatted through activism, including sophisticated use of social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as the scholar Manuel Aviles-Santiago (2014) has shown. Aviles-Santiago analyzes the successful boycott of the homophobic and transphobic puppet character of La Comay, interpreted by the ventriloquist/comedian Antulio "Kobbo" Santarrosa on the extremely highly rated and commercially lucrative television program SuperXclusivo, which was transmitted on WAPA-TV from 2000 to 2013; the program had been marked by constant biased representation. (55) The boycott was led by activist Pedro Julio Serrano and joined by others such as lawyer and activist Yoryie Irizarry beginning on December 4, 2012, after La Comay suggested that publicist Jose Enrique Gomez-Saladin was murdered because he frequented a street known for male and female prostitution. This event served as a catalyst to bring together different sectors; the boycott led to the cancellation of the program on January 9, 2013. (56)
Valuable information on current Puerto Rican LGBT topics frequently appears on sites such as LGBT Puerto Rico (http://www.lgbtpuertorico.com/), a portal that was established in 2013 by Aviles-Santiago and George Arce on the principles of "Inclusion" (Inclusion), "Visibilidad" (Visibility), "Respeto y Equidad" (Respect and Equity), and "Eficacia" (Effectiveness). LGBT Puerto Rico maintains an extremely active social media presence and is a reliable source of up-to-date news. Meanwhile, the transfeminist media collective known as EspicyNipples "busca contar y visibilizar las experiencias de la comunidad LGBTTQIA en Puerto Rico" (seeks to tell and make visible the experiences of the LGBTTQIA community in Puerto Rico), as Mariola Pagan Hidalgo (2018) describes in 80grados. EspicyNipples members More, Rayo Radiante, Betun Warhol, and Fe Fugaz maintain the collective's website (https://www.espicynipples.com/), record a podcast titled Bokisucixs and have participated in events at El Hangar in Santurce.
There have been important developments in the literary field. (57) Notable among these has been the publication of the pioneering Spanish-language literary anthology Los otros cuerpos: antologia de tematica gay, lesbica y queer desde Puerto Rico y su diaspora coedited by David Caleb Acevedo, Moises Agosto-Rosario, and Luis Negron in 2007, which includes some translations from English to Spanish. (58) Los otros cuerpos was the first anthology of its kind in Puerto Rico and among the first in Latin America and the Caribbean; it was dedicated to the openly-gay writer Manuel Ramos Otero (1948-1990), who is the focus of several essays in this issue of CENTRO Journal. (59) The enthusiasm for Los otros cuerpos during its multiple book presentations across Puerto Rico and in New York City led to the creation on February 13, 2009, of the Colectivo Literario Homoerotica (Homoerotic Literary Collective). Homoerotica was founded by poet and editor Angel Antonio Ruiz Laboy (2011a, 2014, 2016), who also edited the Revista Corporeo (currently available on the website Issuu), launched Editorial Erizo, and published the anthology O: Colectivo Literario Homoerotica in 2012, the year the collective ended. (60) During its four years of existence, Homoerotica organized numerous public readings and workshops, marched in the LGBTQ Pride March in San Juan, and actively participated in several editions of the Festival de la Palabra, a literary festival spearheaded by the writer Mayra Santos-Febres. (61) The collective included a wide range of participants, such as poet Raquel Salas Rivera (2011, 2018), who more recently was declared Poet Laureate of the City of Philadelphia; Salas Rivera identifies as "queer, Latinx, and fiercely Boricua." (62)
Specific literary works can have a great impact. Building on the legacy of the pioneering Ramos Otero, and following the success of Angel Lozada's novel La patografia (1998) and of Santos-Febres's well-received Sirena Selena vestida de pena (2000), Luis Negron published his acclaimed collection of short stories Mundo cruel in 2010. (63) Negron's highly-accessible and well-received book privileges an oral register and centers on the district of Santurce in San Juan, including its diverse immigrant and working class populations and its rich LGBTQ community life. It has been reissued in Argentina, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Slovenia, and Spain. (64) The English-language edition was published by an imprint of Penguin Random House in the United States; the book was translated into English by the esteemed translator Suzanne Jill Levine, winning the Lambda Literary Award in 2014, the highest award for U.S. LGBT publishing. (65) Mundo cruel has also had diverse theatrical and film adaptations, including by leading actor and director Gil Rene Rodriguez. (66) The short film Mataperros (2018, dir. Joaquin Octavio), which is based on a short story from Mundo cruel, was screened at the 2018 Puerto Rico Queer Film Fest.
Equally significant are the prolific publications and editorial and activist work of Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro, which include editing the anthology Cachaperismos: poesia y narrativa lesboerotica (2010), publishing her novels Caparazones (2010) and Violeta (2013), and establishing her blog and independent publishing house Boreales, among many additional achievements. (67) Arroyo Pizarro, whose work has been reprinted in Spain by the esteemed Editorial Egales (an independent, LGBT-centered, woman-owned publishing house) and translated into several languages, is the focus of three articles in this issue of CENTRO Journal. Through the Catedra de Mujeres Negras Ancestrales founded by her, the author has been extremely involved in Afro-Puerto Rican and, more broadly, Afro-Caribbean and Afro-diasporic literary and cultural advocacy and education projects, dedicating several books to this topic, such as Las negras (2012), Tongas, palenques y quilombos (2013), and Yo, Makandal (2017).
Notable recent English-language Puerto Rican LGBTQ publications in the United States have included the novels Chulito (2011) by Charles Rice-Gonzalez, We the Animals (2011) by Justin Torres (also released as a film in 2018), Juliet Takes a Breath (2016) by Gabby Rivera, and The House of Impossible Beauties (2018) by Joseph Cassara, as well as Blas Falconer's four books of poetry (2006, 2007, 2012, 2018) and Charles Rice-Gonzalez and Charlie Vazquez's anthology From Macho to Mariposa: New Gay Latino Fiction (2011), which includes numerous Puerto Rican contributors such as David Caleb Acevedo and Robert Vazquez-Pacheco. As Andrew Vinales highlights in this issue, Rice-Gonzalez centers on youth and early adult queer Bronx and Afro-Latinx experience. (68) Meanwhile, Torres, in his loosely autobiographical tale of three half-Puerto Rican boys growing up in rural, upstate New York, portrays bestialization (the animals of the novel's title) and ultimately distancing and rejection, once the queer young adult protagonist's family discovers his erotic diaries. (69) As Consuelo Martinez-Reyes discusses in this issue, Rivera addresses an underserved population: young Puerto Rican queer/lesbian readers; Rivera has also attained great visibility as the writer of the Marvel Comics series America, starring a Puerto Rican queer superhero. (70) In a different vein, Cassara re-envisions the landmark documentary Paris Is Burning (dir. Jennie Livingston, 1990), a profile of African American and Puerto Rican gays, drag queens, and transgender women, centering his novel on the legendary Latinx House of Xtravaganza. (71) Finally, following the tradition of poet Rane Arroyo, whose work is analyzed by Maria DeGuzman in this issue, Falconer explores questions of Puerto Rican heritage and of gay identity. (72)
The rise in visibility of LGBTQ publications has also created a backlash by authors who have attempted to minimize, parody, or degrade specific achievements, or who insist on anachronistic conceptions of stigma. (73) A particularly toxic example was the publication of the deceitful Opus totus: antologia de poesia lesbica (Anthology of Lesbian Poetry), which generated fierce debates after the presentation of this book in April 2009 at La Tertulia Bookstore in Rio Piedras by Professor Luis Felipe Diaz, who appeared as their performance persona Lizza Fernanda. (74) The Opus totus anthology was originally published in 2006 by three male-identified, cisgender, heterosexual university professors (Rafael Acevedo and two additional unacknowledged authors, Pablo Juan Canino Salgado and Angel Luis Mendez) who published and promoted the book using the female pseudonyms of Rosalba Lopez Cepera, Beba Marucci, Elvira Montes Stubbe, and Carmen Perez Muller; selections of the book were reprinted in their blog El Mimbre Despeinado and in the pages of the weekly newspaper Claridad. In an interview in El Nuevo Dia, Acevedo claimed that the publication and cover-up was an exercise of creative expression, even when the book was taught in their Spanish-language literature classes without indicating its parodic nature. (75) Acevedo also published a polemical short piece in Claridad titled "No tolero a los gays" (2010) that was seen as a provocation. The debate highlighted issues of white male heterosexual cisgender privilege, prestige, power, and authority, and the contentious nature of the literary field. As critic Ruben Rios Avila wrote at the time, "Estamos ante un ejercicio bastante rudimentario de parodia reaccionaria, la parodia que aspira a destruir el modelo que imita, a desprestigiarlo, a borrarlo del escenario de lo politizable" (2010b); Rios Avila also commented on the rise of transphobia in Puerto Rico. And, as Yolanda MartinezSan Miguel (2010) noted, "surge la pregunta ?por que es necesario editar una antologia de poesia lesbiana mediocre cuando en Puerto Rico tenemos una nutrida tradicion poetica lesbica (pienso en Nemir Matos Cintron, Luz Maria Umpierre, Lilliana Ramos Collado, y Frances Negron Muntaner, entre tantas otras) que han creado proyectos esteticos diversos, innovadores y muy interesantes?"
Theater and Performance
Notable developments in the dramatic arts and performance include the premiere of the Festival de Teatro de Tercer Amor (Third Love Theater Festival) in 2006 at Teatro Coribantes in Hato Rey (San Juan), which in 2018 celebrated its thirteenth edition, and the work of individual artists such as Javier Cardona, Jorge Merced (profiled in this issue), Awilda Rodriguez Lora ("La Performera"), Lio Villahermosa (also profiled), and Kairiana Nunez Santaliz. (76) Appealing to a general audience, the Festival del Tercer Amor, as it is also known, showcases straightforward and not particularly experimental or alternative representation; it has included important plays by women and about lesbianism. (77) While the festival has thrived and served as a space for community building, Festival director Rafael Rojas accused the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture of censorship in 2017 when the government agency withdrew its financial support. (78)
In the diaspora, key spaces such as Teatro Pregones (where Merced is based) and the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (BAAD!, co-founded and led by executive director Charles Rice-Gonzalez), both in New York City, have continued to create space for queer Puerto Rican and Latinx theater, performance, and dance. (79) Meanwhile, in Puerto Rico, spaces such as Casa de Cultura Ruth Hernandez Torres, which was led by Gisela Rosario Ramos and Helen Ceballos but has been shuttered since Hurricane Maria, and other venues such as Casa Cruz de la Luna (in San German), Patio Taller (in Barrio San Anton, Carolina), Club 77 (in Rio Piedras), La Casa de los Contrafuertes (in Old San Juan), and El Cuadrado Gris, El Departamento de la Comida (no longer open), El Hangar, El Local, La Respuesta, the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Puerto Rico (MAC-PR), and Radiored, all in Santurce, have welcomed experimental queer arts. (80) El Hangar is particularly interesting as a bare-bones, post-Hurricane Maria, queer-identified, woman-led, trans-friendly space created by Carla Jeanet Torres and her first cousin, the filmmaker and visual artist Ruben Rolando Solla-Rosario; the space is run by a collective, offers many events in its extensive yard, includes a large kitchen for cooking collective meals, and was created after retaking an abandoned lot that had served as a failed Pentecostal church and then as a "hospitalillo" (a space for illicit drug use) on Hoare Street, on the edge of the exclusive residential neighborhood of Miramar, abutting Barrio Gandul. Its events combine sustainable agro-ecological awareness, alternative health practices, and radical queer culture.
Performance has served as a space for innovation and transformation regarding gender identity, but has also generated controversy. For example, in late January 2014, the fairly conventional and mostly mainstream Maria Chuzema (a character portrayed by the actress and puppeteer Tere Marichal) was criticized by Puerto Rico por la Familia for her children's story "Carla Feliz" about a transgender girl. (81) As one newspaper headline indicated, "Tabu el tema LGBTT dirigido a los menores" (LGBTT Themes Taboo When Directed at Minors). (82) Marichal received widespread public support and police protection from the Mayor of San Juan Carmen Yulin Cruz to perform the story in public in Old San Juan. (83)
The homophobia of organizations such as Puerto Rico por la Familia has been challenged through performance. For example, on February 16, 2015, the experimental performance artist Mickey Negron carried out a well-documented protest intervention against the Marcha Contra el Curriculo con Perspectiva de Genero (March against a Curriculum with Gender Perspective). Negron's performance was titled PonerMickeytarme: ritual de pluma y purificacion and entailed appearing in female drag with a Bible tied to his body in front of the Puerto Rican Capitol building in Puerta de Tierra, embracing hostile protesters, and ultimately covering his semi-naked body with honey and white feathers. (84) The performance was carried out with the assistance of Helen Ceballos and videotaped by Ryan Perez-Hicks, and is available on Vimeo and YouTube.
Film and Film Festivals
Film is a major genre; film festivals help to generate audiences and attention for pioneering works. The premiere edition of the Puerto Rico Queer Film Fest was held on November 12-18, 2009, and included screenings of feature-length and short international and Puerto Rican films; the Puerto Rican short films were identified as "Cortos BoriQueer." (85) The festival celebrated its ninth edition in 2018, having had to cancel the 2017 edition due to Hurricane Maria. The festival has been consistently led by Victor Gonzalez (Executive Director), Jaime Santiago (Programming Director), and Rebeca Fraticelli (Executive Producer). (86)
Many leading Puerto Rican films have premiered at the Puerto Rico Queer Film Fest. For example, Carmen Oquendo-Villar and Jose Correa-Viguier's well-received, mid-length documentary La aguja/The Needle was first shown at the festival in November of 2012. (87) La aguja focuses on the life experiences of Jose Quinones, a retired nurse and drag performer who runs a beauty clinic in his home, where he assists many celebrities and transgender women; the film was not released commercially due to legal concerns. The award-winning, bilingual feature-length film Mala Mala also had its local premiere at the Puerto Rico Queer Film Fest on November 23, 2014; the documentary obtained commercial U.S. distribution with Strand Releasing in 2015. (88) Mala Mala was directed by Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles and focuses on drag and trans experience in Puerto Rico, featuring nine individuals, including trans spokesperson Ivana Fred and genderqueer/trans chef Paxx Caraballo Moll.
Additional landmark films presented at the Puerto Rico Queer Film Fest include El hijo de Ruby, a short documentary produced in 2014 by independent artist and film director Gisela Rosario Ramos that features Lio Villahermosa, which Anastacia Valecce discusses in this issue, and the Puerto Rican-Venezuelan coproduction Extra Terrestres (2016), a feature-length narrative film directed by Carla Cavina, starring Marise Alvarez and Prakriti Maduro as a lesbian couple. (89) Meanwhile, the documentary Kiki (2016), directed by Sara Jordeno, prominently features the Puerto Rican Chi Chi Mizrahi (Francisco Gonzalez Jr.); the film focuses on the youth-led LGBTQ African American and Latinx ball scene in New York City, particularly on HIV/AIDS prevention work. (90) Kiki has been considered by many to be a follow-up to the landmark 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning. (91) Another film that centers on the impact of AIDS is Cecilia Aldarondo's Memories of a Penitent Heart (2016), in which the Puerto Rican filmmaker "reconstructs her uncle Miguel's New York life, one he lived far from his family, especially his religious mother"; the documentary was televised nationally across the United States on PBS. (92)
Parades serve as a space of community validation and group consolidation. These range from LGBTQ-specific events such as the yearly Marcha del Orgullo LGBTTIQ de Puerto Rico held without interruption in San Juan since 1991, which is organized by the Colectivo Orgullo Arcoiris (COA), to the Boqueron (Cabo Rojo) pride parade and weekend festival, held for the sixteenth year in 2018. (93) They also include local community events in the diaspora such as the Chicago People's Puerto Rican Parade held yearly in Humboldt Park, which prominently features drag and trans Cacica Queens and, since 2018, a gay Cacique King. (94) Notably, the 2016 National Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City, which was held on June 12, included recognition for the first time ever of Puerto Rican LGBTQ pioneers such as activist Pedro Julio Serrano, gay boxer Orlando "El Fenomeno" Cruz, equal marriage lawsuit plaintiffs Ada Conde and Ivonne Alvarez, and transgender pioneer Soraya Santiago, who is featured in Mala Mala. (95) Posthumous recognition was made to trans activist Sylvia Rivera and to the lesbian educator and community leader Antonia Pantoja, who founded ASPIRA. (96) Sadly, this parade occurred on the same day as the Pulse Orlando massacre, highlighting the precariousness of our limited gains.
Bars, Community Centers, HIV/AIDS Organizations
While it exceeds the scope of this survey article to offer detailed information about all the current bars, nightclubs, and other LGBTQ businesses and organizations in Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican diaspora, it is worthwhile to point out their centrality and importance. This is evident, for example, in Yoryie Irizarry's (2014) reminiscence about Bachelor, which was the leading San Juan gay bar during the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. (97) Bars and other businesses are also central to Javier E. Laureano's (2016) analysis of gay life and culture in San Juan. Current spaces include Zal Zi Puedes, a very small bar in Santurce with a mostly older, male clientele that offers drag shows with veteran performers such as Ruddys Martinez Diaz (La Pantoja de Puerto Rico), Gilo Rosa, and Felix Chevremont and which features informal poetry readings on Sunday nights called "Cultureta" (Clavell Carrasquillo 2013). More recent locations such as The Bear Tabern on Degetau Street in Santurce organize beach excursions ("Bear Beach Invasion"), varied parties (including birthday celebrations), Friday night karaoke, art exhibits, and contests and serves as a home base for the Comunidad Osos de Puerto Rico and for San Juan Leather Men. At the pres ent moment there seem to be few if any women-centered bars, but there are spaces such as El Hangar in Santurce, Casa Ruth in Rio Piedras, El Departamento de la Comida (originally in Barrio Gandul and then in Ocean Park, now closed), and Patio Taller in Carolina that are very women-focused and are women-led. There have also been lesbian parties at La Respuesta in Santurce. In her research on Mexico City, Anahi Russo Garrido (2009) comments that women frequently have less-established spaces, or take over a particular spot one night, or frequent men's spaces where they are treated well, or do events in private homes. This also occurs in Puerto Rico.
In addition to El Hangar in Santurce, more established community centers include the Centro Comunitario LGBTT de Puerto Rico (http://www.centrolgbttpr. org/) in Hato Rey, led by Cecilia La Luz, which has operated since 2011. According to their website, this center offers support groups, psychosocial help, psychotherapy, and educational and community activities. The center is located on a second floor and is not wheelchair accessible.
Finally, it is important to mention the centrality of HIV/AIDS organizations, many of which have been operating since the 1980s and 1990s. For example, Coai, Inc. (http:// coaipr.org/), led by Jose Joaquin Mulinelli Rodriguez, is a non-profit organization "dedicated to health promotion and disease prevention from a social justice and human rights perspective, with emphasis on serving lesbians, homosexuals, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning and intersex (LGBTTQQI) people in Puerto Rico," as their website indicates. The organization includes support programs such as Ache T.O.P. (Taking On Prevention) for "Men that have Sex with Men and Transgender/Transsexual persons" as well as Trans Tanama for "16 to 29 years old young transgender persons and their partners (regardless of age, gender identity and sexual orientation)" who live in the San Juan and Ponce areas. Coai also organizes Transfashion, a transgender fashion show that serves as a fundraiser for the organization.
Academia: Research and the Creation of University Spaces for the Discussion of LGBTQ Culture and Knowledge
Universities in Puerto Rico have been slow to fully embrace LGBTQ studies, but meaningful gains have been made, ranging from the teaching of specific classes, the work of student organizations, individual scholar's research, and hosting larger, public events. Unfortunately, scholarly research indicates that many university students in Puerto Rico still harbor homophobic views. (98) One landmark achievement was the establishment in 2006 of the Coloquio Del Otro La'o, an LGBTQ academic conference at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, which has been held biennially without interruption and has always been accompanied by the publication of the conference proceedings. (99) Christopher Powers and Jocelyn A. Geliga Vargas discuss this history in their interview with conference organizers Lissette Rolon Collazo and Beatriz Llenin Figueroa featured in this issue of CENTRO Journal.
Another example of a public event was the hosting a Jornada de Literatura Puertorriquena (Puerto Rican Literary Day) focused on queer literature on February 15, 2012, organized by the Departamento de Estudios Hispanicos (Hispanic Studies Department) of the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, including diverse panels and talks by Angel Antonio Ruiz Laboy, Moises Agosto-Rosario, Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro, Luis Negron, Jose Quiroga, Javier E. Laureano, Lilliana Ramos Collado, and Felix Jimenez. (100) The Jornada concluded with a literary reading by members of the Colectivo Literario Homoerotica. This impetus has continued with the establishment in May 2015 of the Congreso de Literatura Queer (CLiQ) at the University of Puerto Rico, Carolina, under the leadership of author and editor Max Charriez from Editorial La Tuerca and of Professor Monica Llado Ortega. (101) The conference has been held twice and is scheduled to occur in October 2018. In addition, Professor Regner Ramos is currently organizing Sites Queer: Technologies, Spaces and Otherness, a conference scheduled to take place at the School of Architecture of the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, on February 7-9, 2019.
In the United States, the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College, CUNY, has hosted events such as the launch of the special issue of CENTRO Journal on Puerto Rican Queer Sexualities on May 7, 2007, and the first-ever LGBT Puerto Rican Diaspora Summit in New York City (LGBT Ricans: El Encuentro), held on June 11, 2016. (102) Meanwhile, at Columbia University, Frances Negron-Muntaner has organized events such as Superstar! A Tribute to Mario Montez, held on March 31, 2010, which was an homage to the New York avant-garde/underground drag performer and Warhol superstar Mario Montez, and FIERCE: The Work and Life of Manuel Ramos Otero, a panel discussion held on October 5, 2014, featuring Arnaldo Cruz-Malave, Luis Negron, and Consuelo Arias on the occasion of the inauguration of the Manuel Ramos Otero Papers at the Columbia University Library. (103)
Finally, it is important to recognize the importance of particular scholarly publications. One example is Javier E. Laureano's pioneering history volume San Juan gay: conquista de un espacio urbano de 1948 a 1991, published in 2016, which follows in the tradition of other historiographical efforts such as Aixa Ardin's undergraduate thesis "Elyibiti: historia del activismo LGBTT en Puerto Rico desde los 70 a mediados de los 90" (2001). (104) Ardin's thesis was accompanied by a documentary film of the same name. Another valuable contribution is LGBT 101: una mirada introductoria al colectivo (Vazquez-Rivera et al. 2016), which includes an essay by Ana Irma Rivera-Lassen and eighteen additional chapters by a wide range of scholars and clinical practitioners.
This limited survey highlights some of the numerous historical, political, and cultural events and key leading figures in Puerto Rican LGBTQ life, but inevitably excludes many additional interesting and valuable contributions. Analysis of these events has also been limited given publication constraints. The coeditors of this issue of CENTRO Journal hope that future research will take up many of the issues addressed in these pages and will continue to develop and expand the field of Puerto Rican queer studies.
2002. Sanchez v. Puerto Rico. The Supreme Court of Puerto Rico dismisses case brought by Reverend Margarita Sanchez de Leon challenging Puerto Rico's sodomy law.
2003. Pueblo v. Ruiz Martinez. On April 8, the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico holds that same-sex couples are excluded from the protections granted to "relaciones consensuales" (consensual relationships) under the Prevention and Intervention of Domestic Violence Law, known as Act 54, despite the gender-neutral language of the statute.
2003. The Puerto Rican Senate decriminalizes sodomy in Puerto Rico on June 23.
2003. Lawrence v. Texas, 539 US 558. On June 26, the Supreme Court of the United States strikes down the Texas anti-sodomy law as unconstitutional, reasoning that the 14th Amendment's substantive due process protections guarantee the liberty rights of consenting adults engaged in private conduct.
2005. Ex parte Delgado Hernandez. On June 30, the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico holds that the Demographic Registry Law does not allow a change of sex marker for transsexual petitioner, overturning a previous Supreme Court's order granting petitioner's request to change the sex marker on her birth certificate and driver's license.
2006. First edition of the Coloquio Del Otro La'o, an LGBTQ academic conference held at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez.
2006. First edition of the Festival de Teatro del Tercer Amor (Third Love Theater Festival) at Teatro Coribantes in Hato Rey (San Juan).
2006. Initial publication of Opus totus: antologia de poesia lesbica (Anthology of Lesbian Poetry), written by three heterosexual cisgender men and published with pseudonyms.
2006. Signing into law of Act 108 on May 26 to amend the Organic Law of the Puerto Rico Department of Education to require the department to design and implement a curriculum that promotes gender equity and prevents domestic violence.
2007. Publication of CENTRO Journal's special issue "Puerto Rican Queer Sexualities" (vol. 19, no. 1, Spring 2007).
2007. Publication of the landmark anthology Los otros cuerpos: antologia de tematica gay, lesbica y queer desde Puerto Rico y su diaspora.
2008-09. Debates ensue over the Puerto Rico Department of Education's "Carta Circular" regarding "perspectiva de genero" (gender equity).
2009. Nina Flowers and two additional Puerto Rican drag performers appear on the first season on RuPaul's Drag Race.
2009. Creation of the Colectivo Literario Homoerotica.
2009. Controversy ensues following the April presentation of Opus totus: antologia de poesia lesbica at La Tertulia Bookstore in Rio Piedras.
2009. First edition of the Puerto Rican Queer Film Fest held in November.
2009. The body of Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado is found decapitated, dismembered, and burned on November 14 in Cayey.
2010. Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro edits and publishes the collective anthology Cachaperismos: poesia y narrativa lesboerotica, and publishes her novel Caparazones.
2010. Luis Negron publishes Mundo cruel.
2010. Ricky Martin comes out as gay on Twitter on March 29, coinciding with the publication of his memoir titled Me in English and Yo in Spanish.
2011. Justin Torres publishes his novel We the Animals on August 30.
2012. On February 15, the Hispanic Studies Department of the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, hosts the Jornada de Literatura Puertorriquena focused on queer literature.
2012. On September 8, Ana Irma Rivera Lassen becomes the first openly lesbian black lawyer to lead the Colegio de Abogados de Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico Bar Association).
2012. On November 6, Pedro Peters Maldonado becomes the first openly gay candidate to win public office in Puerto Rico.
2012. Carmen Oquendo-Villar and Jose Correa-Viguier's documentary La aguja/The Needle premieres at the Puerto Rico Queer Film Fest on November 18.
2012. Murder of publicist Jose Enrique Gomez-Saladin on November 29.
2012. Boycott of the television program SuperXclusivo, which features the puppet character of La Comay, after La Comay made disparaging comments about GomezSaladin on show on December 4.
2013. Cancellation of the television program SuperXclusivo on January 9.
2013. On February 18, thousands participate in a march at the Capitol of Puerto Rico against the anti-discrimination amendments on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity under consideration in the Legislature.
2013. CABE (Comite Amplio para la Busqueda de Equidad) holds its first press conference at the Colegio de Abogados (Bar Association of Puerto Rico).
2013. Ex parte A.A.R. On February 20, the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico determines that the Puerto Rican Civil Code prohibits same-sex second parent adoption of a minor child raised by the same-sex couple.
2013. Act 22-2013 is enacted by Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla on May 29 to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in public and private employment. The same day, the governor enacts Act 23-2013 to amend Act 54 to extend its domestic violence prevention and intervention protections to all people in a consensual relationship regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.
2013. Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro publishes her novel Violeta.
2014. In late January, Maria Chuzema is criticized by Puerto Rico por la Familia for her children's story titled "Carla Feliz" about a transgender girl.
2014. Ada Mercedes Conde Vidal and Ivonne Alvarez Velez of San Juan file a federal lawsuit on March 26 in the U.S. District Court of Puerto Rico seeking recognition of their Massachusetts marriage.
2014. The bilingual documentary film Mala Mala premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on April 19 and later at the Puerto Rico Queer Film Fest in November, obtaining commercial U.S. distribution with Strand Releasing in 2015.
2014. On June 2, Luis Negron's Mundo Cruel wins the Lambda Literary Award in the category of fiction.
2014. On July 15, Maite Oronoz Rodriguez is sworn in as Associate Justice to the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico, the court's first openly gay justice.
2014. Zulma Oliveras Vega, Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro, and three additional couples join Ada Conde and Ivonne Alvarez in their lawsuit on June 24. U.S. District Judge Juan Perez-Gimenez rules against the plaintiffs on October 22.
2015. On February 16, Puerto Rican religious groups organize a Marcha Contra el Curriculo con Perspectiva de Genero (March against a Curriculum with Gender Perspective) against proposed Department of Education reforms.
2015. On February 25, Secretary of Education Rafael Roman Melendez emits the Carta Circular 19-2014-2015 regarding the "Public Policy regarding Gender Equity and Its Integration to the Curriculum of the Puerto Rico Department of Education as an Instrument to Promote the Dignity of Human Beings and the equality of All before the Law."
2015. First edition of the Congreso de Literatura Queer (CLiQ) held June 2-6 at the University of Puerto Rico, Carolina.
2015. Obergefell v. Hodges. On June 26, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry.
2015. On September 9, Secretary of Education Rafael Roman Melendez emits the Carta Circular 16-2015-2016 regarding school uniforms in public schools ("Directrices sobre el uso del uniforme escolar en el sistema publico de ensenanza en Puerto Rico").
2016. On February 22, Maite Oronoz Rodriguez is confirmed as Chief Justice of the Puerto Rico Supreme Court.
2016. On March 8, U.S. District Court Judge Juan Perez-Gimenez upholds the same-sex marriage ban in Puerto Rico.
2016. On April 7, the First Circuit of Appeals in Boston overturns U.S. District Court Judge Juan Perez-Gimenez's decision.
2016. In the early morning of June 12, Omar Mateen murders 49 persons, including 23 Puerto Ricans, and injures many more who are attending "Latin Night" at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
2016. Later that same day (June 12), the National Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City recognizes past and present Puerto Rican LGBT pioneers.
2016. In August, Javier Laureano publishes his pioneering scholarly history volume San Juan gay: conquista de un espacio urbano de 1948 a 1991.
2017. On February 8, Puerto Rico Secretary of Education Julia Keleher emits the Carta Circular 32-2016-2017 invalidating previous directives regarding the teaching of gender equity and the regulation regarding school uniforms.
2017. In March, Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz rescinds an administrative order that allowed transgender employees to use facilities consistent with their gender identity.
2017. On July 3, Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz refers to openly-lesbian Fiscal Supervision Board member Ana Matosantos as "sir" on a radio show, creating great controversy.
2018. On February 1, Joseph Cassara publishes his novel The House of Impossible Beauties.
2018. Arroyo Gonzalez v. Rossello Nevares. On April 20, the Federal District Court for the District of Puerto Rico strikes down as unconstitutional Puerto Rico's prohibition against changing the sex marker on birth certificates and driver's license of transgender petitioners.
2018. The film adaptation of Justin Torres's novel We the Animals is released commercially on August 17.
(1) Mendez-Mendez (2015) offers a valuable general overview. In an earlier essay (La FountainStokes 1999) I offered a broad panoramic analysis of Puerto Rican LGBT issues. Also see La Fountain-Stokes (2009), Rapp (2010), Toro-Alfonso (2008). On Latin America, see Corrales and Pecheny (2010).
(2) See Ostolaza Bey (2010), Rivera Lassen (2010, 2016).
(3) See Irizarry (2017), Rabell Ramirez (2015), Rivera Pagan (2015, 2016), Sued (2013).
(4) Also see Senado de Puerto Rico (2003).
(5) See ACLU Lesbian and Gay Rights Project (2003, 57), Martinez-Rivera (2012), Rodriguez (2007). On Sanchez de Leon, also see La Fountain-Stokes (1999).
(6) See Feliciano Acosta 2014; Fernos (2013).
(7) See "Pareja de boricuas lesbianas se casa en Nueva York" (2012).
(8) See Lavers (2014b).
(9) See Lavers (2014a).
(10) See Johnson (2014).
(11) See Figueroa Rosa (2015).
(12) See Bratu (2016).
(13) See Cobian (2016a, 2016b).
(14) See Martinez Rivera (2007).
(15) See Diaz Morales (2012), Perez Camacho (2006).
(16) See Microjuris (2018).
(17) See Caro Gonzalez (2018b), Cerda Campero (2018), Plax (2018). On Rodriguez Roldan, see Gonzalez (2016), Gonzalez-Ramirez (2016), Spinks (2017).
(18) See Caro Gonzalez (2018a). For a detailed account of Ivana Fred's visit to the Registro Demografico to change her documents, see Irizarry Alvarez (2018).
(19) See CyberNews/NotiCel (2012).
(20) See Banuchi (2014), Mendez-Mendez (2015, 259).
(21) See Banuchi (2016).
(22) See Bauza (2010), "Denuncian incremento" (2009), Fernandez (2015), "Fuerza gay en la papeleta" (2012), "Inaceptable guerra" (2010), Laureano (2016, 225-36). Pedro Julio Serrano no longer identifies with the PNP.
(23) See "Homosexual gana por primera vez unas elecciones en la Isla" (2012).
(24) See La Fountain-Stokes (1999), Mark-Viverito and Mendez (2013). On Holyoke, MA, City Councilor Jossie Valentin, see Nicco (2013). On Holyoke City Councilor Nelson Rafael Roman, see https://www.americansforthearts.org/users/14686. On Pedro Segarra, see Pena Lopez (2012).
(25) On Romero, see https://www.aclu.org/bio/anthony-d-romero.
(26) See "Odio sin tapujos contra la comunidad gay" (2009), "Tildan de homofobico a Rivera Schatz" (2011).
(27) See "Miles protestan" (2013).
(28) See "Si a la igualdad para la comunidad LGBTT" (2013).
(29) See "Crean comite amplio en busca de la equidad" (2013).
(30) See Capo Matos (2013), "Son ley" (2013).
(31) See Avery (2017), Banuchi (2017).
(32) See Metro Puerto Rico (2017).
(33) See Delgado Robles (2017), "Rep. Gutierrez Speaks Out" (2017), Serrano (2017).
(34) See Mercado Sierra (2012).
(35) See, for example, Lopez Pena (2016), Maldonado Miranda (2008).
(36) See "Protestan en contra de educacion sobre perspectiva de genero" (2015).
(37) See "Comite Amplio para la Busqueda de Equidad" (2015) and Proyecto Matria website (https://www.proyectomatria.org/).
(38) See Lopez Alicea (2017).
(39) See Gonzalez (2018), Metro Puerto Rico (2018b), Tirado Ramos (2018). It is unclear why this minor incident received such substantial media attention.
(40) See del Puente (1986), Laureano (2016, 301-21).
(41) See Figueroa Rosa (2009), "Suspect Charged" (2009).
(42) See Mirzoeff (2010), Rios Avila (2010a).
(43) See Alvarez and Madigan (2016), Jusino Diaz (2019).
(44) See Irizarry (2016a), Kornhaber (2016), La Fountain-Stokes (2018b), Quiroga (2016), Ramos Collado (2016), Rodriguez (2016), Torres (2016).
(45) Also see "Erigen monumento" (2016), NotiCel and EFE (2016).
(46) The QLatinx mission statement appears on their website, https://www.qlatinx.org/about. Also see Chavez (2017), Cordeiro (2016), Rodriguez (2017).
(47) See Colon (2018), Rios Camacho (2016).
(48) See Ortiz Diaz (2017), Vargas Casiano (2015).
(49) See Rosario (2018).
(50) See Martinez-Reyes (2010a, 2010b).
(51) RuPaul's Drag Race airs on VH1 since 2017.
(52) See Goldmark (2015), La Fountain-Stokes (2014), Mayora (2014).
(53) See Associated Press (2010), Duke (2010), Martin (2010a, 2010b).
(54) See "'No he difamado ni ofendido a nadie'" (2011), Romero (2011), "Wanda Rolon reitera su ataque contra Ricky Martin" (2011).
(55) Also see Irizarry (2012), Vega (2012).
(56) See Voxxi (2012).
(57) See Torres (2015, 107-63).
(58) See Acevedo, Agosto Rosario, and Negron (2007). For a discussion of the anthology, see La Fountain-Stokes (2018, 81-9).
(59) Recent scholarship on Ramos Otero includes articles and book chapters by Cortes-Velez (2012), Cruz-Malave (2015), Guzzardo Tamargo (2017), La Fountain-Stokes (2009, 19-63), Llado-Ortega (2010), Rolon Machado (2016), Rosa (2011).
(60) See Toro (2010), Torres (2013; 2015, 109-12).
(61) See "Hay hambre de poder expresar" (2009).
(62) Quoted in Zorrilla (2018). Also see Ruiz Laboy (2011b).
(63) On Luis Negron, see Gutierrez Negron (2018), Pintado Burgos (2011), Ramos Collado (2012a), Torres (2015, 113-5).
(64) See Pardo (2016), Roman Samot (2016).
(65) On the Lambda Literary Award, see La Fountain-Stokes (2016c), Swanson (2014).
(66) See Fullana Acosta (2015), Irizarry (2016c), Melendez (2015).
(67) See Falconi Travez (2016), Large (2017), Quezada (2015), Ramos Collado (2012b), Torres (2015, 140-2), Vazquez Cruz (2016).
(68) On Chulito, see Gonzalez (2011).
(69) See Isherwood (2011). On the film, see Osenlund (2018).
(70) Also see Betancourt (2017), Moreno (2018), Sawyers-Lovett (2016).
(71) See Jacques (2018).
(72) On Arroyo, see La Fountain-Stokes, Torres, and Rivera-Servera (2011).
(73) See, for example, Silen (2012), who claims that "la mariconeria, es una forma oscura y frivola de ser traidor, de ser colaborador, de ser chismoso y de ser chota"; Silen opposes the noble homosexual to the treacherous and frivolous maricon, a contrast that evokes Federico Garcia Lorca's though in his "Ode to Walt Whitman" (1929). For a discussion of Silen's book and of the controversies it generated on Facebook, particularly after Silen accused a gay Puerto Rican writer of being "sidoso" (a person with HIV/AIDS), see Torres (2015, 36-40).
(74) See "Hay hambre de poder expresar" (2009), Martinez-San Miguel (2010), Rios Avila (2010b). On Luis Felipe Diaz/Lizza Fernanda, see La Fountain-Stokes (2018, 93-5).
(75) See "Hay hambre de poder expresar" (2009).
(76) On the Festival de Teatro del Tercer Amor, see La Fountain-Stokes (2018a, 209-12), Lopez Ortiz (2006), Santiago (2006). On Cardona, see Arroyo (2002, 2007, 2016), Rivera-Velazquez and Torres Narvaez (2016). On Rodriguez Lora, see Pena Lopez (2014), Sharp (2018). On Villahermosa, see Colon (2016). On Nunez Santaliz, who is known for her solo and ensemble work, see Laureano (2010), Metro Puerto Rico (2018a).
(77) For example, see the extensive news coverage about actress Lizmarie Quintana and director Emineh de Lourdes. See "Emineh de Lourdes y Lizmarie Quintana alardean de su felicidad" (2013), "Premian a lo mejor de Festival de Teatro del Tercer Amor" (2014), Santiago Torres (2014).
(78) See Vega Calles (2017).
(79) See La Fountain-Stokes (2009, 2016a), Rivera-Servera (2012).
(80) On filmmaker, performer, and cultural activist Gisela Rosario (also known as Macha Colon) see "La lucha de una artista boricua 'brutalmente honesta'" (2015), Vallejo Gonzalez (2015).
(81) See NotiCel (2014).
(82) See front cover of Metro, January 30, 2014, <https://rm.metrolatam.com/ pdf/2014/01/30/20140130_sanjuan.pdf/>.
(83) See Burgos (2014), Olivares (2014).
(84) See La Fountain-Stokes (2018, 227-33).
(85) See Agencia EFE (2009).
(86) See Reyes Anglero (2018), Vargas Molina (2011).
(87) See Laureano (2012), Lopez Chavez (2013), Ramos Collado (2013).
(88) See La Fountain-Stokes (2016b), Rios Avila (2014).
(89) On Extra Terrestres, see Alegre Femenias (2017), La Fountain-Stokes (2018, 102-5).
(90) On Kiki, see Betancourt (2016).
(91) See Kenny (2017).
(92) See POV Pressroom (2017).
(93) On the Puerto Rican LGBTTIQ Pride March in San Juan see Laureano (2016, 202-24). On Boqueron Pride see D. Rodriguez (2014).
(94) On 2018 Cacique King Orlando "El Fenomeno" Cruz, see Malagon (2018).
(95) See "Desfile puertorriqueno" 2016. Santiago has published a memoir covering her life experiences; see Soraya (2014).
(96) On Pantoja, see Torres (2009).
(97) See "Recuerdan la era dorada de la discoteca Bachelor" (2013) regarding a more recent celebration party sponsored by the disk jockey Pablo Flores, and Vargas Casiano (2015).
(98) See Nieves Rosa (2012), Toro-Alfonso, Borrero Bracero, and Nieves Lugo (2008).
(99) See Llenin Figueroa (2013, 2015), Rios Torres (2007), Rolon Collazo (2009, 2011, 2017).
(100) See "Dedican jornada a literatura 'queer'" (2012).
(101) See "Arranca manana" (2015), "Que comience el Congreso" (2015).
(102) See Globe Newswire (2016).
(103) See Arias (2014), Columbia University Libraries (2014), Rodriguez Martorell (2010). Magali Garcia Ramis was scheduled to appear but was unable to travel for personal (health) reasons.
(104) On Laureano, see Irizarry (2016b).
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The author (firstname.lastname@example.org) is Associate Professor of American Culture, Romance Languages and Literatures, and Women's Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and the acting director of the Latina/o Studies Program (2018-2019). He is author of Queer Ricans: Cultures and Sexualities in the Diaspora (University on Minnesota Press, 2009), Unas pintadas de azul/Blue Fingernails (Bilingual Review Press, 2009), Abolicion del pato (Terranova, 2013), A Brief and Transformative Account of Queer History (Enciclopedia Deiknumena, 2016), Escenas transcaribenas: ensayos sobre teatro, performance y cultura (Editorial Isla Negra, 2018), and co-editor of Keywords for Latina/o Studies (New York University Press, 2017). He previously co-edited an issue of CENTRO Journal on Puerto Rican Queer Sexualities (Spring 2007) and is currently writing on Puerto Rican transgender and drag performance and activism. He performs as Lola von Miramar since 2010.
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|Title Annotation:||REFLEXIONS / REFLEXIONES|
|Author:||La Fountain-Stokes, Lawrence|
|Publication:||CENTRO: Journal of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies|
|Date:||Jun 22, 2018|
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