November 1, 2018 at 6:00 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
SAGE opens Puerto Rico chapter

From left: Waves Ahead Clinical Supervisor Seil Roman, SAGE CEO Michael Adams, Waves Ahead Executive Director Wilfred Labiosa and Waves Ahead co-founder Grissel Bonilla attend a ceremony in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Oct. 24, 2018, that celebrated the official opening of SAGE’s new chapter in the U.S. commonwealth (Photo courtesy of Sandra Guerrero)

An organization that advocates on behalf of LGBT seniors has opened a chapter in Puerto Rico.

SAGE CEO Michael Adams is among those who attended the ceremony in San Juan on Oct. 24 that marked the official establishment of SAGE Puerto Rico. Wilfred Labiosa and Grissel Bonilla, co-founder of Waves Ahead, a group that is helping LGBT Puerto Ricans recover from Hurricane Maria that devastated the U.S. commonwealth on Sept. 20, 2017, also attended the event.

Adams in a press release said SAGE sees the new chapter “as a grand opportunity that Puerto Rico will have its own SAGE chapter with local offices.”

“It reaffirms its commitment to the island with this community of LGBT seniors who have already grown old and with those who are already over 50+,” he added.

Labiosa, Grissel, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz and others with whom the Washington Blade has spoken have said discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, poverty and a lack of access to education and health care have made LGBTI Puerto Ricans even more vulnerable since Maria. The hurricane also had a disproportionate impact on seniors in the U.S. commonwealth.



Labiosa told the Blade on Thursday his work with SAGE in Puerto Rico began before Maria.

“These efforts began before the hurricane, but gained more strength as there was an increase of anxiety and depression among older LGBT adults,” said Labiosa.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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