Puerto Ricans with HIV/AIDS continue to struggle after Maria

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Anselmo Fonseca of Pacientes de SIDA Pro Política Sana, left, works with Jesús Cruz, a social worker at Bill’s Kitchen, a San Juan-based organization that prepares meals for people with HIV/AIDS, to serve food to the elderly after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, 2017. Photo courtesy of Anselmo Fonseca/Pacientes de SIDA pro Política Sana

The situation for people with HIV/AIDS in Puerto Rico remains precarious three months after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.

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Puerto Rico Senate approves religious freedom bill

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The Puerto Rico Senate has approved a religious freedom bill that critics contend would allow anti-LGBT discrimination in the U.S. commonwealth. Activists and their supporters have urged Gov. Ricardo Rosselló to veto the measure. Image by Nicolas Raymond; courtesy Flickr

The Puerto Rico Senate on Sunday approved a religious freedom bill that critics contend would allow anti-LGBT discrimination in the U.S. commonwealth.

The bill — which is known as the Law for the Protection of Religious Liberty in Puerto Rico — notes the U.S. and Puerto Rican constitutions guarantee freedom of religion. The measure also states “it is important to remember the situations of confrontations that the religious sector experienced in the past administration where the public education sector tried to impose an ideology contrary to parents’ Christian principles.”

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Puerto Rico’s first LGBT monument undamaged by Hurricane Maria

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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Editor’s note: This is part two of a two-part interview with San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz that the Washington Blade conducted on Nov. 1, 2017, at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center in D.C. Part one of the interview can be found here.

The mayor of the Puerto Rican capital of San Juan on Wednesday said Hurricane Maria did not damage the U.S. commonwealth’s first LGBT-specific monument.

Carmen Yulín Cruz on June 26, 2016, formally unveiled the monument — which is located in San Juan’s oceanfront Third Millennium Park — during the city’s annual Pride parade.

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San Juan mayor struggles to help people with HIV/AIDS

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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Editor’s note: This is part one of a two-part interview with San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz the Washington Blade conducted on Nov. 1, 2017, at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center in D.C.

The mayor of the Puerto Rican capital of San Juan on Wednesday said her government is doing everything it can to help people with HIV/AIDS in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

Carmen Yulín Cruz noted to the Washington Blade during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center there is a clinic for adults and children with AIDS in San Juan. She said officials “stocked up” on medications and other supplies before Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico’s southeast coast on Sept. 20 with 155 mph winds.

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Helping Hands: Pulse survivors, families join LGBTQ groups and politicians to send support, supplies to Puerto Rico

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | As the sun was coming up on the east coast of the United States Sept. 30, the responses by the president in Washington, D.C., and the people of Orlando to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria on the island of Puerto Rico could not have been more different.

“The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump,” the commander-in-chief tweeted. ”Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help. They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. 10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job.”

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Ricky Martin pleads for Puerto Rico relief on ‘Ellen’

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Ricky Martin made a surprise appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” to plead for relief efforts to aid the devastating Hurricane Maria aftermath in Puerto Rico.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I am from Puerto Rico and right now Puerto Rico is suffering,” Martin, who was born in Puerto Rico, says. “We were destroyed by a hurricane and it’s been very difficult right now. There is no water, there is no electricity, there is no food. There is no medicine. There is no diesel for the generators that will make the hospital work. People are dying. So, as a Puerto Rican, as the American that I am, I’m here to ask for your help.”

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Federal court urged to strike down Puerto Rico birth certificate policy

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL GAY MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Lambda Legal has urged a federal court to strike down a Puerto Rico policy that does not allow transgender people to change the gender marker on their birth certificates.

The group made the request in a brief it filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico on June 26.

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Protections for trans Puerto Rico Senate employees rescinded

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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The president of the Puerto Rico Senate has eliminated protections for the chamber’s transgender employees.

El Vocero, a Puerto Rican newspaper, reported Sen. Thomas Rivera Schatz on March 31 rescinded an administrative order that said trans Senate employees could use bathrooms and wear clothing that is consistent with their gender identity.

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Ricky Martin thanks fans for support over father’s illness

By : Wire Report
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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) – Pop star Ricky Martin thanked his fans Dec. 24 for their support following the hospitalization of his father, Enrique Martin.

The singer issued a statement saying that he is “close to his father along with his nuclear family.” Martin asked that people allow the family to deal with the illness in a private manner.

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Terry Flanagan stops Orlando Cruz from becoming first gay boxing champ

By : Wire Report
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CARDIFF, Wales — Orlando Cruz of Puerto Rico will have to wait to become the first openly gay boxer to win a world title after being stopped in the eighth round by WBO lightweight champion Terry Flanagan on Saturday.

Flanagan, a British fighter, improved his professional record to 32-0 with a successful fourth defense of the belt by knocking Cruz to the canvas twice in the same round in Cardiff.

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Puerto Rico unveils LGBT monument, memorial to Pulse victims

By : Jeremy Williams
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Puerto Rico has its first LGBT monument in the island’s history, which now is also a memorial to the victims of the Pulse shooting.

The monument is seven concrete pillars, each covered in colorful mosaics, and sits at the entrance of Sixto Escobar Stadium in San Juan’s Third Millennium Park, according to Noticel, a Puerto Rican publication.

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Grief ripples across Puerto Rico from losses at Pulse

By : Wire Report
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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) – Ever since last week’s shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, people in Puerto Rico have been frantically calling relatives in Central Florida, scrambling to book flights and making funeral arrangements.

The massacre of 49 people early June 12 by a gunman with a semi-automatic rifle shocked people worldwide. But it has been felt particularly hard in this U.S. island territory because so many victims were either born here or were just a generation removed.

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