11:00am - 11:30pm      Light lunch


11:45pm - 1:45pm      

Opening Plenary – Tod@s en la lucha

Welcome: Edwin Meléndez & Lorraine Cortés Vázquez

Panelists: Johanna Rosaly, Melissa Mark Viverito, Carmen Yulín Cruz, Orlando "El Fenómeno" Cruz & Pedro Muñiz.

Moderator: Pedro Julio Serrano 

Special recognitions 

This inaugural panel will tackle the struggle for LGBT equality from two fronts: from the viewpoint of heterosexual allies that have stood up for the LGBT equality, but also from the standpoint of the openly LGBT public figures that have been in the frontlines. With marriage equality being the law of the land, the Puerto Rican LGBT community looks to what’s next. This panel will lay the groundwork for the breakout sessions to follow, in order to set an agenda for the LGBT community in the diaspora and how to continue to strengthen bridges with the patria.


2:00pm - 3:15pm      Breakout Sessions

LGBT People of Faith & Allies

Moderator: Dr. Wilhemina Perry

Panelists: Rev. Dr. Samuel Cruz, Rev. Carmen Hernández

Faith and LGBT people for many years were not mentioned in the same sentence. LGBT people and allies have turned that around and now, there are flourishing movements of inclusion and acceptance within the faith communities. LGBT people are embracing their faiths and communities of faith are embracing LGBT people. 

PR in Crisis

Moderator: Dr. Larry La Fountain

Panelists: Dr. Erika Abad, Nelson Roman, Jossie Valentín 

Puerto Rico is in the worst crisis in its history. LGBT people are part of the solution. We have always been there and we will continue to stand with the people living in Puerto Rico and those struggling in the U.S. to make sure that the solutions to the crisis include us all.

Age Ain't Nothing But A Number!

Moderator: Ronnie Billini

Panelists: Rosalina “Talin” Ramos, Angel Santini, Jimmy López Acosta, Doreen Bermúdez 

LGBT elders are part of our community. There’s a growing advocacy to make sure that their needs and their voices are heard. It is time that our elders come to the forefront of our struggle and have a stronger seat at the table.

Que Viva La Juventud

Moderator: Leandro Rodriguez

Panelists: Evelyn Rivera, Mikeebel Figueroa, Karen Cruz 

LGBT youth are our future, but they’re also our present. They are active, they are engaged, and they are challenging us all. Let’s include them, let’s lift them up and let’s open the way so they can lead us, too.


3:15pm - 4:30pm      Breakout Sessions

Trans Pa' Que Tú Lo Sepas

Moderator: Vanessa Victoria

Panelists: Bianey de la O, Soraya Santiago, Barbra Herr, Paxx Caraballo Moll 

The trans movement has been growing by the minute. With more visibility and more awareness of the challenges and needs of our trans people, comes power. Let’s switch the letters and make it the TTBLG movement – trans people to the front, please.

La Cultureta

Moderator: Jorge Oliver

Panelists: Miguel Juan Concepción Blanco, Angel Morales, Nitza Tufiño 

LGBT people have been part of the arts & culture forever. Now, we’re out and proud, but there are still challenges. How do we create a cultural movement that includes us all? Being visible and leading the way.

Diáspora & Patria

Moderator: Karlo

Panelists: Ada Conde, Andy Praschak, Karina Claudio Betancourt, Ivonne Álvarez

There’s an undeniable link between the people living in the U.S. and those living in P.R. We must strengthen those ties to make sure that the almost 9 million of us can work for the Puerto Rico we deserve.


4:30pm - 5:30pm      Final Plenary

Moderators: Pedro Julio Serrano and Edwin Meléndez

Reports from groups

Next steps

Each breakout session will report back to the plenary about their findings, their needs and their agenda for the future. We will take stock of what we have, where we are, who is there and what needs to happen to achieve LGBT equality and liberation. We will set an agenda for the Puerto Rican LGBT diaspora community.


Program Goals: 

The breakout sessions promote active and deliberative engagement of multiple stakeholders in the solution of inequalities and the development of community and policy strategies for LGBT rights. In this Encuentro, we seek to cultivate relations with a broad constituency, which is understood to be essential to carrying our mission.

The breakout sessions are organized by groups that represent the existing organizational structure of the Puerto Rican LGBT diáspora community. In some cases, this will be a continuation of already existing organizations and the discussion will focus on how to mobilize or further develop civic engagement in this particular sector of the community. In other cases, this will be the first time that regional or state level groups come together to articulate a national agenda. And in a few cases, this will be the first step toward conceptualizing a national network and a mobilization strategy for a sector where relatively no LGBT Puerto Rican-focused institutional infrastructure exists.

Given the diverse and complex reality of our community, what can we do to respond to such a historical juncture? Can we build a shared understanding of the many challenges and opportunities that we face from the perspective of the Puerto Rican LGBT community in the U.S.?

The common questions posed to breakout sessions are:

  • What can we do? The groups will be asked to evaluate the potential for advocacy to have an impact on the definition and understanding of social, economic, and policy problems of the Puerto Rican LGBT community; the window of opportunity opened to policy and community leaders concerned with the implementation of solutions to the problem; and the likelihood of affecting public policies and mediating social institutions that influence outcomes for stateside Puerto Rican LGBT communities.
  • Who is going to do it? The Encuentro will help produce an inventory of resources, a directory of individuals and organizations that can collaborate in the near future (within the next year after the conference) to support projects that would result in relevant research, promote the utilization of that research by stakeholders, and assess discernible impact on social outcomes.
  • What can we do? The Puerto Rican LGBT diáspora has engaged in a solidarity movement with Puerto Rico unprecedented in our history. This awakening in turn has motivated the stateside community to engage in a broad range of issues and strategies all with the common goal of strengthening a national voice in issues of concern to LGBT Puerto Ricans. 

Round Table Format: Each speaker in a panel will make initial remarks for 4 to 5 minutes. The moderator may ask additional follow up questions and/or open public questions to panelists. We expect questions from attendees to the session to be specific and comments limited to no more than one or two minutes.  The idea is to engage participants in a discussion of policy and strategies. The moderator will report on recommendations from the group at the closing plenary session.

Events Calendar

2016 Fall Events Calendar

2016 Fall Events Calendar

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