What are your favorite places in San Juan—hidden gems you share with visiting friends?
I love sharing with friends that are visiting for the first time a good mix of low-key bars and clubs. I absolutely love a cocktail happy hour at Mezzanine in Old San Juan. It's a small bar with top-shelf liquor and tapas at half price from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. It's a cozy space with a balcony view. It's great for pregaming and grabbing a light bite.
I would also recommend on Mondays to go to La Respuesta for hip-hop, soul, R&B and dancehall, and on Fridays Santos Rooftop bar past midnight to dance to house music. If they'd like a place with a little more Latino queer flavor, I always recommend El Hangar in Santurce. I always do tell them to check out every venue's social media before heading out anywhere, though, to find out what’s currently on the calendar.
How would you describe your style, and where do you shop in San Juan?
Monochromatic and futuristic, often with neon accents. I love referencing Versace editorials for inspiration because I love their bright neon, monochromatic looks. But truly I'm obsessed with crop tops, mesh shirts, running shorts and windbreakers paired with high tops or chunky sneakers, which I coordinate with a single pop of color and black. There aren't many shops in San Juan that have these specific things available, so I take a look at Zara, Forever 21, GUESS, and look for details online, or even design and sew my own pieces.
You've spoken at length on the importance of gender-neutral spaces. How does San Juan measure up?
While there has been an improvement over the last couple of years about being more conscious of respecting people's gender expression and gender identity in San Juan, we still have a long way to go. Like anywhere else, homophobia, transphobia and a general lack of understanding of how people should be respectful about other people's pronouns still exists. This is something that my peers and I reinforce at events (like through the use of inclusive language) to ensure everyone sees firsthand how to be more inclusive.
The wonderful thing about DJing and coordinating events in San Juan and other towns in Puerto Rico is that it's given me an opportunity to voice these issues that are of great importance to people that are not necessarily LGBTQ+, and they have been very receptive.
I feel that everywhere and almost everyone I've spoken to, including promoters, bar managers, and owners have been more conscious of making an effort in being more inclusive in their language and are open to hearing feedback from the community so they can do their part to make sure everyone feels not only respected but also welcomed.