Monday, January 29, 2007

Unid@s announces its first Board of Directors


Unid@s announces its first Board of Directors

January 29, 2007
Unid@s, the National Latina/o Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Human Rights Organization announced today the selection of its first Board of Directors. Looking to fill the void of a national organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Latinas/os, a group of Latina/o lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) leaders met in Seattle on October 2004 to create a Steering Committee to develop the organizational base for this effort. After several months of preparation, the Steering Committee opened the process to recruit members for the initial Board of Directors of this new organization. Through a democratic, transparent and open voting process via the internet, Latino/a LGBT community members selected the new board members.

After an inclusive, thorough and transparent process, we have laid the groundwork for the first Board of Directors that will have the task of building this organization. We are grateful of the participation of LGBT Latinas/os in this process. This grassroots effort has set the stage for a national Latina/o LGBT organization that represents everyone and stands as a powerful and effective voice in the struggle for equal rights and liberation, said Ruby Corado, co-chair of Unid@s Steering Committee.
The transition of leadership from the Steering Committee to the new Board of Directors of Unid@s will take place throughout February. The first Board of Directors of Unid@s will take-on the leadership of the organization on March 1, 2007. For more information on "Leadership" get the textbook "Leadership: Theory and Practice (ISBN: 1412974887 )". This book can be found at a discount on
The Board of Directors of Unid@s will be comprised of 13 members, seven from each geographical region and six members from states with larger concentration of Latinas/os. The regions are: North East, South East, Puerto Rico, North Central, South Central, Mid West and West. The following states: New York, Illinois, Texas, California and Massachusetts, as well as the District of Columbia, will have an additional slot to address density of LGBT Latinas/os.

The Steering Committee developed guidelines to ensure that we created a Board that represents as many experiences and the diversity of identities including gender, class, ethnicity, age, immigration history and sexual orientations. In an effort to ensure balanced participation of all members of our community, there are four slots for lesbian and/or bisexual women, four slots for gay and/or bisexual men, four slots for transgender people and one slot that can be filled with someone from any of the above communities. At the same time, there will be an innovative leadership composition of three chairs: one transgender, one lesbian or bisexual woman, and one gay or bisexual man.

During this voting process, 11 board members were elected, but due to our demographical and geographical guidelines, the Board has two vacant slots. To comply with the demographical guidelines, these two slots must be filled with one transgender person and one lesbian or bisexual woman. To comply with the geographical guidelines, these two additional members must be one from California and one from Illinois. These vacancies will be filled by the elected Board.

We are hopeful of the future of Unid@s. The commitment of our Latina/o LGBT community is inspiring. The Board selection process has been transparent, agile, democratic and inclusive. We worked to guarantee the participation of everyone in our Latina/o LGBT community. We invite everyone to keep invested in the future of Unid@s. Together we can make a difference, finalized Lorenzo Herrera y Lozano, co-chair of Unid@s Steering Committee.

The elected Board members are:

North East: One member will represent these states: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. One member will represent New York and one member will represent Massachusetts.

Gael Gundin Guevara, New York, trans

Gael Gundin Guevara is trans-identified boy born and raised in Panama City, Panama. Gael is a collective and the Community Organizing Coordinator at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, an organization that provides free legal services to low-income and people of color that are trans, intersex, and gender non-conforming. Gael is also a working group member of Trans Justice, a New York City based community organizing working group of the Audre Lorde Project created by and for trans and gender non-conforming people of color. Gael has been part of the steering committee of Sigamos Adelante, since its beginnings and continues to support the national efforts to create a strong and unified Latino/Hispanic LGBT voice.


Wilfred Labiosa, Massachusetts, gay

Wilfred Labiosa was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Received his Bachelor's degree in Psychology and Latin American Studies from Boston University and his Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology from Northeastern University; working towards completion of his PhD in Applied Psychology. He is currently the Program Director of the Relapse Prevention & Outpatient Services of Casa Esperanza, Inc.; also an adjunct professor in the Liberal Arts Department of Cambridge College. He has vast experience in working in the public health and mental health fields locally and nationally. He has served in different capacities in local, national, and international organizations. He is co-founder and member of the Board of Directors of Somos Latinos/as LGBT Coalition of Massachusetts and the annual Latino Pride Celebration. He is committed in working with others in the advancement of Communities of Color including LGBT people, as well as in their inclusion and recognition by mainstream LGBT and Latino organizations.

Pedro Julio Serrano, North East, gay
Pedro Julio Serrano, born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, is currently the Communications Coordinator for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. He is a well-known and respected Latino/a LGBT movement leader. With studies in communications from the University of Puerto Rico, he worked for the Puerto Rican Health Department and as communications manager for LLEGO. In 1998, he became the first openly gay political candidate in the history of Puerto Rico to run for office. In 1999, he became the political and media director for the Human Rights Foundation of Puerto Rico. Most recently, he worked as communications associate and Voices of Equality coordinator for Freedom to Marry. He also founded Puerto Rico Para Tod@s (Puerto Rico for All), an organization that advocates for social justice and the inclusion of the LGBT community in the social project of the island. He is a member of the Steering Committee of Unid@s, an effort to construct a new national Latina/o LGBT voice, and co-chair of the National Latina/o Coalition for Justice, which fights to end discrimination in marriage. He is also a member of the Board of Advisors of PRIDE (Puerto Rican Initiative to Develop Empowerment). He lives by Gandhi's words: "Be the change that you want to see in the world."
South East: One member will represent these states: Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Pennsylvania and D.C. One member will represent Washington, D.C.

Sandra Telep, South East, lesbian
Sandra Telep is an organizer with Pride At Work, AFL-CIO and specializes in relationship recognition. She is working to gain support in the Labor movement for marriage equality and working with unions to ensure that their collective bargaining protects their LGBT workers and families. Sandra is also co-chair of the National Latin@ Coalition for Justice, the national Latin@ organization working for marriage equality. In the past she has worked for the Human Rights Campaign and the American Civil Liberties Union. She has been with her partner Jessica for five years and they are they proud parents of two dogs.

Ruby Jade Corado, D.C., trans
Ruby Jade Corado was born in San Salvador, El Salvador. She is 35 years old and has lived in Washington, D.C. for the past 17 years. After working with organizations such as the Whitman Walter Clinic and La Clínica Del Pueblo, Ruby realized that there weren’t any safe spaces for transgender Latin@s. That prompted her to create, with a group of friends and activists, the group “Creando Espacios, sponsored by La Clínica Del Pueblo, where for the past five years, many transgender activists have learned advocacy, public speaking and outreach skills. Ruby has collaborated with national organizations such as LLEGO, the National Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Organization, in which she worked to create the First Leadership Congress for Transgender Latin@s in Washington, D.C. She has worked also with national organizations such as GLAAD, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, National Center for Transgender Equality and Latin@s en Acción, among others. Ruby has collaborated with data recollection governmental programs in D.C. and Virginia, but her most outstanding contribution if the creation of El Proyecto "Casa Ruby". Casa Ruby is a home and work center for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people that are homeless and/or jobless because of being rejected by their families or by society.
Puerto Rico: One member will represent Puerto Rico.
Ada M. Conde Vidal, Puerto Rico, lesbian
Ada M. Conde Vidal was born in Puerto Rico, from a Puerto Rican father and a Cuban mother. She has a 20-year old daughter. Ada has been a lawyer for 20 years and in the past 10 years she has devoted most of her time to the fight for LGBT equality and to end sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. As president of the Fundación de Derechos Humanos, she managed to get a sexual orientation and gender identity inclusive hate crimes bill into law in Puerto Rico and has authored many pieces of legislation. She is also a photojournalist.
North Central: One member will represent these states: Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Nebraska.

Gabriel González, North Central, gay
Gabriel González was born and raised in Puerto Rico. He graduated from a Talented Student in Science and Math program in High School, and received scholarships to attend various universities. He attended the Metropolitan University of Puerto Rico. While at this institution, he was given the opportunity to work on research with the U.S. National Laboratories. After his second year in college, his family moved to the U.S., in the fall of 1998 to Salt Lake City, Utah. Shortly after the move, Gabriel relocated to Lincoln, Nebraska, where he pursued studies in Christian theology at Union College, a small Seventh-Day Adventist liberal arts college. After graduating from Union College, he came to terms with his homosexuality and became an advocate for students on the campus. In 2005, he began his master's in social work at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and should be finished with this degree in December, 2007. While pursuing diverse careers, he has continued to develop his professional and civic involvement. He has served in diverse boards and chaired some of these. Currently Gabriel is on his second year of serving as the president to the gay group on campus "Alphabet Soup." He is happily partner with a Caucasian male from Alabama.

South Central: One member will represent these states: Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New México, Texas and Oklahoma. One member will represent Texas.

Lorenzo Herrera y Lozano, South Central, gay
Lorenzo Herrera y Lozano is a Queer-identified Xicano born in San José, California and raised between his birthplace and southern Chihuahua, México. He has dedicated his professional, academic and artistic career to looking at the intersections of social justice movements. He is the author of the Lambda Literary Award-nominated Santo de la Pata Alzada: Poems from the Queer/Xicano/Positive Pen (Evelyn Street Press, 2005); editor of Queer Codex, a radical queer people of color cultural arts anthology series published in collaboration by Evelyn Street Press, a progressive feminist publishing house, and ALLGO; and is scheduled to publish his second collection of poetry, Promesas y Amenazas (Xorizote Press) in September of 2007. Lorenzo Holds a Master in Liberal Arts from St. Edward's University, and is currently in the Master of Science in Organizational Leadership & Ethics program at the same academic institution.

Cristina E. Martinez, Texas, lesbian
Cristina E. Martinez was born on November 12, 1961, and raised in Mexico until the age of 14. She graduated from high school in Houston, Texas and attended the University of St. Thomas. She joined the military (Army) and served for 8 years. Currently she is the CEO of Mad Clik, Inc., publisher of the Gay & Lesbian Rainbow Pages and president of MD Marketing & Advertising. Extremely active in the non-profit sector of the GLBT community in several organizations, Cristina is looking to grow Latino/a organizations. Feeling a void in this country for Latino LGBT organizations and events ergo, Cristina created the first ever Latino Gay Orgullo Week last year in Texas. The second annual Latino Gay Orgullo Week will be June 2007 culminating with a Black Tie Dance.

Mid West: One member will represent these states: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio. One member will represent Illinois (VACANT).

Jorge Alexandro Cestou, Mid West, gay

Jorge Alexandro Cestou is a latino gay activist in the city of Chicago, Illinois. He was born in Laredo, Texas. At the age of 24, he migrated to the city of Chicago, where he is active in organizations and the Illinois Latino/a LGBT community. He has a master’s degree in business administration (MBA). His participation in human rights organizations is of great importance to him, specially the ones dealing with LGBT equality.

West: One member will represent these states: Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, Oregon and California. One member will represent California (VACANT).

Yose V. Lewis, West, trans
Yose V. Lewis is a dark skinned Latino female to male transsexual who has been an activist since 1973. A health educator, speaker, writer, performer, trainer, facilitator and spiritual hugger, Yoseñio is a member of the Board of Directors of The Woodhull Sexual Freedom Foundation and of Tenderloin Health (in San Francisco). He was most recently on the Board of Directors of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF). Yoseñio is also a co-founder of Big Boys' Ink™ Productions, a theatrical writing and performing company. Yoseñio is also a co-founder of "The TransAms", a barbershop quartet composed of transsexual men. Yoseñio has been a subject of several documentaries, including Christopher Lee's "Trappings of Transhood" and the television channel A&E's "Transgender Revolution."


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