Pedro Julio Serrano

Pedro Julio Serrano is a respected and renowned human rights activist, Puerto Rican born and proudly gay. Currently lives in New York however, his heart remains with the homeland, in the fight for a Puerto Rico for everyone.

Pedro Julio was born on October 2, 1974 at Ponce, Puerto Rico. Raised at Isla Verde, where he also studied primary and secondary studies at Colegio La Piedad. He furthered his studies by attending the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus where he majored in Communications.

In 1998, Pedro Julio made history by announcing his aspiration to the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico as the first candidate in the political history of the country to publicly announce his homosexuality. It was also the first to announce living with HIV. Also, he recently became a cancer survivor.

In 2003 he founded “Puerto Rico Para Tod@s” (Puerto Rico for Everyone), a nonprofit organization that fights for equal rights and inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and transsexual communities (LGBTT). And also for the social justice of all human beings in Puerto Rico. Since then, as a spokesman for the organization, he maintains several social networks with more than 80,000 members, who receive daily news about the struggle for social justice both in Puerto Rico and internationally.

Later on, he served as Director of Policy and Media Foundation for Human Rights and then served as Director of Communications LLEGO, the National Organization for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Latinas/os in the United States with main offices located on Washington, D.C.

In 2005, Pedro Julio moved to New York, where he worked as coordinator of the ProgramVoices for Equality for Freedom to Marry. An organization striving to achieve equality in marriage for same-sex couples. Then he worked for 7 years in the city of skyscrapers, as Director of Public Relations and Media for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force , the leading organization of LGBTT movement in the United States.

In 2006, the kiss that was given to her then boyfriend Steven in the views of the Civil Code made history, making the cover of Primera Hora with the headline Gay Love shakes the Capitol and was listed as "a kiss in search of legality ".

Pedro Julio has been a member of the Commission to Combat Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Bar Association and Lawyers of Puerto Rico, as well as a member of the Advisory Board of the Puerto Rico Chapter of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union). He has also been a member of the Advisory Committee on Human Rights of the Civil Rights Commission of Puerto Rico and the Advisory Board of the Puerto Rican Initiative to Develop Empowerment (PRIDE), the organization that fights for the LGBTT Puerto Rican community in New York City . He also served as co-chair of the National Latino Coalition for Justice, fighting for equality in marriage, an effort that was consolidated with “Unid@s” (United) to form a single national Latino LGBTT organization in the United States and Puerto Rico. After consolidation efforts, he served as co-chair of “Unid@s”, the National Latino LGBT Human Rights Organization.

Pedro Julio has participated in countless interviews and radio channels national and international radio as BBC, CNN, Univision, RCN, Telemundo, NPR, ABC, among many others. He has been reviewed with profiles on ABC News, Univision, El Nuevo Día, Primera Hora, El Vocero, among others. He has written hundreds of columns in national and international newspapers such as Metro, El Nuevo Día, El Vocero, El Diario / La Prensa, La Opinion, among many others. And it has been a pioneer in the use of social networking sites to bring his message of equality to many people through Facebook , MySpace , Twitter and the list of PRparaTOD @ S .

Pedro Julio has given conferences in Puerto Rico in several campuses of the “Universidad de Puerto Rico” and the “Universidad Interamericana”, “Universidad del Sagrado Corazón” and “Pontifica Universidad Catolica de Puerto Rico”, as well as “Universidad del Turabo and Universidad del Este”. He has also given conferences at the Universities of Yale, Brown, Syracuse, Swarthmore, UConn, Mount Holyoke College and Hostos Community College. He has also been the keynote speaker at various conferences such as the 9th LLEGO meeting - the National Organization for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Latinos/as in the Second Educational Day Against Homophobia and the Third Colloquium“Del otro la'o?”(From the other side): Perspectives on queer sexualities.

Pedro Julio has been a prominent voice in the fight against hate crimes, denouncing and demanding the investigation of possible crimes motivated by prejudice against sexual orientation. He was the trip leader at a historic elected officials trip from New York and Illinois who visited Puerto Rico in solidarity with the fight against hate crimes regarding sexual orientation.

Also in 2010, thanks to a campaign initiated and led by Pedro Julio. The # 1 Puerto Rican television program, SuperXclusivo, publicly apologized to LGBTT communities and people living with HIV, for using derogatory language against him. As a result, the television station, WAPA TV, also released "In WAPA respect the Difference", a historical public service campaign to educate on the use of offensive language, eliminate discrimination and respect diversity.

Pedro Julio has received numerous awards for his struggle for social justice and for the rights of the LGBTT communities of Puerto Rico and Latino. In 1992, he won the Sister Sheila O'Brien Award during his high school graduation, the highest award given at the “Colegio La Piedad”. Because of his outstanding contribution to their community. He also received the Leadership Award from the Rotary Club of Isla Verde.

In 2000, he was awarded with the Solidarity Award as Male Campaigner of the Year from the Healing Christ Church. In 2003 he was recognized as one of “L@s 10 mas destacad@s”(One of the most outstanding) LGBTT activists in Puerto Rico because of orgulloboricua.net. In addition, in 2004 he was recognized by the magazine “Ambiente” (Enviroment) as one of “L@s 10 mas destacad@s” activists in the LGBTT Latino community. In 2005 he is recognized as one of five most outstanding activists of LGBTT in the anniversary edition of the magazine “Tentaciones” (Temptations).

In 2007 he was awarded the Pride Award by the PRIDE organization in New York City. In 2009 he received the Bronze Star, Silver Star and the Bravo Award (top award) by Pride Connection Radio and request the public at the Pride Weekend in Boqueron. He was also the grand marshal of the 7th. Stop LGBTT Pride of the West in Boquerón, Puerto Rico.

In addition, in the same year was he was chosen by MyLatinoVoice.com as one of the 25 most influential LGBTT Latin@s. In 2010 he was named one of the 5 most promising Puerto Ricans in New York by the newspaper AM New York.

In 2010 and one of the most important moments as an activist, Pedro Julio received in 2010 the Puerto Rican Pride Award accompanied by his family and hands - through a video - the Puerto Rican star Ricky Martin. This prize is awarded by November Committee - Month Puerto Rican Heritage, an organization that brings together the most important and recognized boricuas institutions of the City of New York to extol the identity of the Puerto Ricans s recognition of the immense contribution social, cultural, political and artistic of the Puerto Rican community in the United States level.

In 2011, he received the annual award of the Queens Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee and dedicated the prize to a young Puerto Rican 13 years old boy who is openly gay and founded a support group at a school for kids.

Pedro Julio was also recognized as "Outstanding Insurgent" during the 9th. Colloquium “Ni Una Vida Mas Para La Toga de la Facultad de Derecho Eugenio María de Hostos” at Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. That same year, Pedro Julio and his family, including his parents Alicia and Hector and his brothers Waldemar Hector Antonio and Antonio Gabriel, were awarded the Pride Connection Radio Award for "exemplary family". Pedro Julio received the Pride Award by the audience in the 9th. LGBTT Pride stop Boqueron. In addition, at the same stop, the Pride Boqueron corporation awarded its highest distinction, the LGBTT Star West Pedro Julio for being a tireless leader for the LGBTT community.

In the city of New York for LGBTT Pride Month 2011, Pedro Julio was recognized by organizations Bronx Pride Community Center, Boogie Down Pride and BrainPower with LGBTQ Pride Award and Allies Bronx. In addition, the Manhattan Borough President, Scott Stringer, recognized with a proclamation declaring June 23, 2011 as the "Day of Pedro Julio Serrano at the County of Manhattan" and rewarding him in the annual celebration of LGBTT Pride. Also, El Diario / La Prensa - the second Spanish - language newspaper largest circulation in the US - recognized him with "EL" Award, which honors the most influential and prominent Latino in New York.

In addition, in 2011, he was recognized for his contribution to human rights as one of the Ten Outstanding Young People of Puerto Rico in 2011 by the Junior Chamber International of Puerto Rico. This recognition is historic because it is the first time they picked a young openly gay to receive such a distinction.

Latin Queens LGBTT community, through Jessenia Marie Rosa, gave in early 2012 a recognition as a leading Paparazzi Awards in New York City and the Latino community activist. In 2012, also he was recognized as one of the most influential Latino activist by the Huffington Post. He was also named Honorary Trans America by the TransLatinasNYC group for their solidarity with the trans community in New York.

At the end of 2012, he was named one of The main protagonists of 2012 by the magazine Caras in a collector's edition that collects the most outstanding figures of the year in Puerto Rico.

In late 2012 and early 2013, Pedro Julio was one of the leaders and spokesmen of the Boycott to La Comay, a movement of people who managed to bring together more than 80,000 people who managed the cancellation of SuperXclusivo program WAPA TV homophobia, xenophobia, sexism, classism, racism and other forms of intolerance, as well as the attack on the individual and collective dignity of the Puerto Rican homeland.

In early 2013, he worked directly with Senator Ramón Luis Nieves in the establishment of the Senate Project 238 to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in public and private institutions. Also, he collaborated with Representative Luis Vega Ramos in the filing of House Bill 488 to include sexual orientation, marital status and gender identity in the protection of Law 54 of domestic violence. These projects became Law 22 and Law 23 of 2013 when Gov. Alejandro García Padilla signed in the ceremony at La Fortaleza with several guests, which included Pedro Julio.

After meeting with the Secretary of Labor, Vance Thomas and Arturo Rios, the advisor of Labor Affairs of Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla, an executive order was issued to give the benefit medical plan to cohabiting couples.

In early 2013, it was also chosen by First Time in the Top Ten LGBTT activists in Puerto Rico and was on the top of that list. "It is characterized by its elegance and simple, clear language”. “Is one of the most consistent in their mission”, read the description of activism from Pedro Julio.

In mid-2013, he was awarded the Dennis DeLeon Voice Commitment Award Gala Cielo Latino of the Latino Commission on AIDS for his tireless struggle for the rights of the LGBTT community and people living with HIV.

In late 2013, Pedro Julio was named as one of the 20 Latin@s Trailblazers of the Year by Being Latino - one of the most important social networks of the Latino community in the United States. In addition, after eight years in the city of New York, he returns to his homeland to continue the fight.

In early 2014, Pedro Julio was recognized as one of the rising stars by the Hispanic Latino Coalition. This recognition is given to 40 leaders under 40 who have excelled in various areas.

In mid-2014, with one month to prepare, Pedro Julio and his organization “Puerto Rico Para Tod@s” got in charge of the LGBTT Pride Parade of Boquerón. Together with his brother Hector and his company Mújica Group produced the best stop of all the history and the busiest with more than 40 thousand people in attendance, according to police and media.

In a historic move and under the leadership of Pedro Julio, organization “Puerto Rico Para Tod@s” joined as a co-applicant to federal lawsuit filed by the wives Ada Conde and Ivonne Alvarez to achieve the right to equal marriage for people LGBTT in Puerto Rico. In an effort led by Lambda Legal, four couples and “Puerto Rico Para Tod@s” joined the lawsuit in June 2014.

Equal marriage became a reality in the United States in June 2015 and in Puerto Rico it was reaffirmed by a decision from the federal appeals court in July.

Currently, Pedro Julio resides in New York, where he serves as senior advisor to the president of New York City Council, Melissa Mark Viverito. He is also author of his own blog, PJ's Blog, which is published on his own website pedrojulioserrano.com .