From Darkness to Daylight: The Ascendancy of Psychological Research of LGBT in Puerto Rico

  • Alfonso Martínez-Taboas, Ph.D. Carlos Albizu University, San Juan
  • Caleb Esteban Ponce Health Sciences University
  • Miguel Vázquez-Rivera, Psy. D. Metropolitan University
Keywords: LGBT, psychology in Puerto Rico, public policy, LGBT psychological research


In this article, we provide a brief background of the current status of psychological LGBT studies in Puerto Rico. An historical inspection highlights the fact that until a nearly a decade ago psychological research and scholarly discussions of LGBT in Puerto Rico was fragmented and negligible. Nevertheless, the last decade has seen notable advances and successes in such diverse activities as research, public policy, professional activities, and a wide and constant presence in mass media activities. We review the contents of the two leading psychological journals published in Puerto Rico and quantified the number of articles on LGBT since the inception of the two journals and also present the results of the number of LGBT professional presentations in the Conventions of the Puerto Rico Psychological Association (PRPA). Lastly, we quantify the number of professional books related to LGBT studies in the last three decades. The results indicate that from 1980 to 2005 professional psychological publications and presentations were absent or negligible in Puerto Rico. Also, the number of professional presentations in the PRPA incremented exponentially after 2007. We document that from 2007 to the present we have seen a wealth of scholarly work related to LGBT that includes books, articles, doctoral dissertations, special bulletins, guidelines, presentations, and public policy. A particularly notable advancement was achieved in the PRPA when in the year 2007 it established a Task Force to advance the presence of LGBT among Puerto Rican psychologists. The Task Force permitted, for the first time in Puerto Rico, the alliance of a conglomerate of psychologists that allowed the rigorously study and discussion of the LGBT in open public forums and inside the PRPA. In light of the productivity and successes obtained in the last decade, we offer some recommendations that may be helpful to further advance LGBT studies in Puerto Rico and in other Latin American countries.

Author Biographies

Alfonso Martínez-Taboas, Ph.D., Carlos Albizu University, San Juan

Address correspondence to Alfonso Martínez-Taboas, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Carlos Albizu University, 151 Tanca St., San Juan, Puerto Rico. 00901.


Caleb Esteban, Ponce Health Sciences University

Clinical Psychology Program, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at Ponce Health Sciences University, PO BOX 7004, Ponce, Puerto Rico 00732-7004. email: