The HEROES and HEROINES series was created in 2019 with the purpose of providing visibility, educating, and creating awareness about the contributions of members of the LGBTTQ + community in Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican Diaspora.
We recognize the importance of disseminating and documenting the history of our community, by highlighting our HEROES and HEROINES contributions.
Amárilis Pagán Jiménez
Lawyer, writer, painter, lecturer and human rights advocated. Co-founder of projects that seek equity and equality. She has been part of groups that have carried out research on the implementation of the Domestic Violence Law, economic development proposals with a gender perspective and actions to advance legislation. Also, public policies in favor of equality for women, LGBT communities and people who live in conditions of poverty.
Ángel Luis Hernández
Altruistic, Sensitive, Leader, Sincere, Tenacious and Supportive. AARP volunteer and coordinator of the First Congress “Retos de los Adultas/os Mayores de 50 años LGBTT en Puerto Rico”. Facilitator in the “Rediseñando Mi Vida” initiative, which helps to discover individual potential. He fought and overcame AIDS and has become a health promoter and advocate for people living with HIV and AIDS.
Ada Conde e Ivonne Álvarez
In 2014 they filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court, for their marriage to be recognized in PR. A year later, the Supreme Court of the United States declared that the discriminatory practice of prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying was unconstitutional. In 2015, with the support of the Human Rights Foundation and the Puerto Rico Bar Association, the first wedding of 65 same-sex couples was celebrated, achieving equal rights.
Cristina Hayworth (1944-2021)
Pioneer of Trans and LGBTQ+ activism in Puerto Rico, Stonewall veteran, fighter for trans rights, and outstanding journalist. In 1969, she participated in the Stonewall riots, the rebellion that started the modern LGBT+ rights movement in the United States. Hayworth also founded, in 1991, the first Gay pride parade in PR, Heritage of Pride, which preceded the Rainbow Pride Coalition.
Herminio (Nino) Adorno Ortega - (1962-2020)
Writer, veteran, activist and tireless fighter. Herminio with a group of brave people, founded the Rainbow Pride Coalition in 1991, which from 1992 organized the Pride Parade in PR. International LGBTTQ+ mentor, cultivated allies around the world. Nino fought against HIV, against cancer, against 2 tumors, against stigma, prejudice and discrimination. Gay man and Boricua hero.
Rev. Nixie Ramos
Adoptive daughter of San Juan, originally from Ponce. Activist, Psychologist with a master's degree in religion, defender of human rights, the LGBTT community and the rights of women in an oppressive and patriarchal society. 20 years ago, she founded Iglesia Cristo Para Todos, an inclusive, interdenominational church. Nixie has a liberal vision and works to achieve an inclusive and equitable society.
At the age of 52 she began to collaborate at the UPR-RP in marine biology. Her passion for nature, marine life and, above all, the sheds, motivated her to found “Grupo Tortuguero”, “7 Quillas Condado” and “Ocean” in 2014. Her love and commitment to educate has managed to impact communities in favor of the conservation of marine species and their habitat through volunteering. Hvva has been recognized in various forums for her environmental work, such as “Mujeres que Inspiran” from the Senate of Puerto Rico and with the international award “Activist Conservationist for a Green Planet”.
Actor, dancer, comedian and activist. Part of the original cast of "La Verdadera Historia de Pedro Navaja." Genius creator of characters that show and make visible the local idiosyncrasy and culture with mischief. Some like "Epifanio", "Guille", and "Ruperta La Camaina" are already part of our popular culture.
Olga Orraca Paredes
Fearless fighter, feminist, activist, and organizational consultant. She has dedicated her life to community work, defense of human rights, social justice and the LGBTTQ+ community. She co-founded the “Creative Lesbian Workshop” (TLC). Active militant in "LLEGÓ”, the “Basta” project, 32 women for Oscar and “Nuestra Salud”. For years she coordinated the Rainbow Pride Coalition, and the San Juan LGBTTQ+ Parade.
José "Joe" Toro Alonso (1952-2015)
Former president of the Inter-American Psychological Society. Respected professional, prolific researcher and a persevering fighter for equality. Receiver of the "Distinguished Contribution to Ethnic Minority Issues award", Psychologist of the Year, "Interamerican Psychological Award", and "Distinguished Professional Career Award" by the National Latino/a of Psychological Association, among others.
Egidio Colon Archilla
Human resources professional, activist, educator, writer and journalist. After more than 25 years at the helm of the Human Resources Office of El San Juan, he began a process of re-invention that took him to “El Post Antillano”. From there he analyzes, documents and contributes to raising the dignity, advocating for the equity of the LGBTTQ+ community and all the marginalized communities in Puerto Rico.
Soraya Santiago (1947-2020)
46 years ago, a young woman had the courage, discipline and strength to transform herself. That woman was and is Soraya Santiago. A fearless fighter for the rights of the LGBT+ community and other socially and economically marginalized groups. Soraya has dedicated her life to work, constant study and responsible activism. During her life, she was an entrepreneur with her own beauty salon, married, and participated in film productions such as “Mala Mala”. Today she remains active studying, advocating for the rights of LGBT+ communities and giving talks on local and international stages.
Sylvia Rivera (1951-2002)
Born on July 2, 1951 in New York from Puerto Rican and Venezuelan descent. Activist and main figure of Stonewall, transgender pioneer, courageous fighter for LGBT+ rights since the age of 18. Regardless of the obstacles and battles in which she was the protagonist, Silvia always persevered, leaving a legacy that will last forever. Founder of the organization “Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries” (STAR) considered by many to be an innovative organization in the queer liberation movement and a model for other organizations. Sylvia passed away in New York at the age of 50 on February 19, 2002, due to cancer.
Artist, designer, entrepreneur of ethnic and Afro-Caribbean fashion. Fernando was born in New York where he learned about fashion, social movements and the LGBT community. In Puerto Rico he develops as an ethnic and Caribbean fashion entrepreneur, is a fighter for human rights and a proud gay man.
Blanca Rosa Rovira Burset
Blanqui is an educator, musician, activist, lesbian, protector of animal rights, older adults and the LGBT+ community. Founder of Vida Plena, which promotes health for the elderly community in Puerto Rico.
Ana Irma Rivera Lassén
Afro-Puerto Rican lawyer, first black woman to lead the Puerto Rico Bar Association from 2012 to 2014. Professor, feminist and human rights activist. Currently, Ana Irma has launched her candidacy as a senator by accumulation for the Victoria Ciudadana party, being the first openly lesbian black woman to run for the Senate.
Pedro Peters Maldonado
First openly gay elected official. Municipal legislator PPD for the municipality of San Juan.
Antonio Pantojas (1948-2017)
On November 25,1948 Santurce saw the birth of this actor, dancer, comedian, dance teacher, director, and theater producer. A precursor of drag-theater, he made his mark debuting in the theater professionally in 1968 where he excelled and left a great legacy. Pantojas kept working throughout his career between Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and New York. The last being where he settled and worked as a theater teacher. His personality and humanity were always in harmony with the humor and art that characterized him. Antonio passed away on October 2, 2017 in New York, at the age of 68.