He Opened Doors for Gay Travelers

Author: , June 14th, 2016

Edward Sotomayor Jr.

Here is one of the stories from the shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. It’s important, I think, that we tell the stories of those who lost their lives in this terrible event.

Born in Sarasota, Fla., to a Puerto Rican father, Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34, made it his life’s mission to open doors for gay travelers, especially in Latin America.

He was proud of his Puerto Rican heritage. And as the national brand manager for a travel agency that catered to gay people, he organized what the company’s owner, Al Ferguson, called the first ever gay cruise to Cuba.

“There was so much fear in the American gay community to go to Cuba because of how they would be perceived and treated and potential security risks,” Mr. Ferguson, 54, said. “And Eddie was probably one of the leading voices to say Cuba was exceptionally safe for the gay community, and Cuba was really anxious to welcome the gay community. And it turned out to be true.”

During the trip, in April, Mr. Sotomayor and Mr. Ferguson met with Mariela Castro, Raúl Castro’s daughter and a prominent gay rights advocate there. The two men also posed in front of a poster left over from President Obama’s trip.

And instead of sleeping on the ship during their stay in Havana, Mr. Sotomayor found an Airbnb rental near the Malecon, an esplanade along the coast. The company later told him it was one of the first rentals in Cuba, and asked him to write a review.

By Benjamin Mueller – Full Story at The New York Times