Embattled Puerto Rico governor resigns

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló (center) talks about bills that would have banned so-called conversion therapy and protect religious freedom in the U.S. commonwealth during a press conference at his official residence in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on April 23, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Adlyn Torres/La Fortaleza)

Embattled Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló on July 24 announced his resignation.

Rosselló in his long awaited speech from La Fortaleza, his official residence, noted his efforts to support LGBT Puerto Ricans as among his administration’s accomplishments. Rosselló said his resignation will be effective as of Aug. 2 at 5 p.m.

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Puerto Rico governor will not seek re-election, resigns as head of party

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, center, talks about bills that would have banned so-called conversion therapy and protect religious freedom in the U.S. commonwealth during a press conference at his official residence in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on April 23, 2019. Photo courtesy of Adlyn Torres/La Fortaleza.

Embattled Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló on Sunday announced he will not seek re-election and will resign as the chair of his pro-statehood party.

“I have made mistakes and I have apologized,” said Rosselló in a message he posted to his Facebook page. “I am a good man who has a lot of love for his island and for everyone.”

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#LoveHandlin: Family

By : Jerick Mediavilla
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Everywhere I’ve been in my life—every memory filled with laughter, companionship and solidarity—has been defined by family. From my own family in Puerto Rico, to the families that have cared for me in D.C., Mexico City and now Orlando, to the co-workers I spend so much time with; they have shown me the true magic that two or more people loving each other can create.

It is an insuperable feeling when in hard times, sickness or peril someone from your family circle comes to the rescue, calls you or even texts you. It is our innate response to always be available to others, especially those we have grown up with, shared a life-changing moment with, those we have decided to marry or those who are brought to this earth as our children. I am sure that as your read these lines, many people come to mind, along with flashbacks of those milestones that have defined your relationships to them.

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Puerto Rico governor under pressure to resign over homophobic, misogynistic comments

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the LGBT national media association
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ABOVE: Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, center, talks about bills that would have banned so-called conversion therapy and protect religious freedom in the U.S. commonwealth during a press conference at his official residence in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on April 23, 2019. Rosselló is under pressure to resign after a private group chat in which he made homophobic and misogynistic comments became public. (Photo courtesy of Adlyn Torres/La Fortaleza)

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló is under growing pressure to resign after homophobic and misogynistic comments he made in a private group chat became public.

The Center for Investigative Journalism in Puerto Rico published 889 pages of messages July 13 that Rosselló and several members of his administration had sent to each other on the messaging app Telegram.

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Puerto Rico’s first center for LGBTQ elders opens

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A ribbon-cutting ceremony for Puerto Rico’s first center for LGBT elders took place in San Juan on Tuesday.

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz spoke alongside Wilfred Labiosa, executive director of Waves Ahead and SAGE Puerto Rico, and San Juan Municipal Assembly President Marco Antonio Rigau before they took part in the ceremony. Representatives of Intersections International, a New York-based LGBT-affirming ministry, and CenterLink were among those who also attended.

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Puerto Rico activists criticize religious freedom, conversion therapy bills

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Above: (Image by Nicolas Raymond; courtesy Flickr)

Activists in Puerto Rico have sharply criticized two bills they say will allow anti-LGBT discrimination.

Governor Ricardo Rosselló on Tuesday at a press conference that took place at his official residence in San Juan announced the introduction of Senate Bill 1253, which would “clarify certain religious freedom principles” in Puerto Rico, and Senate Bill 1254, which would ban so-called conversion therapy in the U.S. commonwealth. Johanne Vélez García, president of the governor’s Advisory Council on LGBTT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and transgender) Issues and LGBTT Community Center of Puerto Rico Executive Director Cecilia La Luz, who is also a member of the council, were among those who stood alongside Rosselló as he discussed the measures.

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#LoveHandlin’: Together

By : Jerick Mediavilla
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There is a sort of divine spark within each of us that constantly follows us through life wherever we go. Some people call it a vibe, an energy, a wisdom that keeps pulling us towards what some say is our true calling.

I started writing at age 10, right around the same time I first saw the Jean-Claude Van Damme movie “Bloodsport.” My dad loved his movies for the kicking, the punching and the blood. I loved them for… well, obvious reasons. His splits, stretching between two chairs, helped me realize I was gay—Van DAMN!

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Puerto Rico governor signs executive order banning conversion therapy for minors

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Gov. Ricardo Rosselló (center) speaking in Utuado, Puerto Rico in March 2018.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló signed an executive order March 27 that bans so-called conversion therapy for minors in the U.S. commonwealth.

“These therapies lack scientific basis,” said Rosselló in a tweet that shows him signing the order. “They cause pain and unnecessary suffering to LGBTT people.”

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Puerto Rico lawmakers block vote on bill to ban conversion therapy for minors

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Members of a pro-statehood party in the Puerto Rico House of Representatives on March 18 blocked a bill that would have banned so-called conversion therapy for minors.

El Nuevo Día, a Puerto Rican newspaper, reported the New Progressive Party caucus blocked Senate Bill 1000.

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2019 WAVE Awards Spotlight: John Gascot

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Tampa Bay’s Favorite Local Artist

“Art should be for everyone,” St. Petersburg’s John Gascot says. “It shouldn’t only be for the educated or only for people with a lot of money.”

That’s why the artist’s work is accessible not only in its subject matter and aesthetic, but also its price point. “You can go into my studio and get a hand painted magnet for $5 or a painting for $3,000,” he explains.

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Puerto Rico government issues LGBTI-friendly guidelines to public employees

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló’s administration on Feb. 8 issued guidelines that are designed to make the U.S. commonwealth’s public employees more sensitive to the needs of transgender people and same-sex couples and their children.

The guidelines specifically refer to trans Puerto Ricans who want to change the gender on their birth certificates and children whose parents are legally married same-sex couples.

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Puerto Rico: A year after Hurricane Maria

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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SAN JUAN — Sept. 20 marked a year since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico.

Many of the U.S. commonwealth’s more than 3 million residents are trying to return to some sense of normalcy, but signs of Maria’s destruction remain visible throughout Puerto Rico. Anger over the pace of recovery and President Trump’s response to Maria remain widespread across the island.

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