If you've never been to gay Puerto Rico, Biff Warren's exuberant description of its fine sand beaches and local adventures is enough to prompt an unexpected vacation. And the best part, as Biff says, Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory
, so no passport is needed for U.S. residents.
Biff Warren is the president of Flying Cow Marketing and Media, the organizers behind SanJuanBrothas
, the annual gay pride
event held in San Juan, Puerto Rico each Memorial Day weekend. Just a few years ago, Biff and a group of friends were on holiday in San Juan when they birthed a clever idea: Each person was to invite their friends the following year for a Memorial Day get-together at the same destination. The next year over 75 friends and new acquaintances flooded the beach hotels. That informal event became the annual pride celebration known as SanJuanBrothas
, which today boasts over 3,000 international participants (not including the locals).
From the beginning, SanJuanBrothas established itself as a unique pride destination. Travelers are only asked to register under the event discount code at the hotel. In return they are granted access to all events for free or at a nominal fee (...a couple of dollars nominal). Biff and company (collectively known as SanJuanBrothas) prefer to flood their guests with sun, food and a good time as opposed to excessive fees and event ticket prices.
"One of the things we didn't want to do was have [guests] pay anymore money than what their trip was to Puerto Rico," Biff says.
SanJuanBrothas also saw their event as a festival beyond micro swim-trunked bodies boozed in the sand (although the likes of are more than welcome), but as a service to the community:
"Rather than complain about what's not happening in our community, we decided to create something for
our community. This way, we can at least say that we tried to do something." Biff enthusiastically continues, "We're not trying to compete with or take anything away from any [other prides]; we're actually trying to remind people that you can do something different that's for you."
SanJuanBrothas is marketed towards gay men of color, but tailored events fulfill the needs of the many diverse communities of gay men of color throughout the U.S. and world. SanJuan events bridge the gay generation gap
by offering a number of activities for both the older and younger gay man.
Biff and SanJuanBrothas' original promise of diversity and age-varying programming in 2000 have obviously come to fruition given the growth of the colorful event. Events are clad with reader's panels, celebrity tributes and parties on and off the beach.
Organizers urge that there is even a place for those that traditionally shy away from prides. As Biff recalls from his first Memorial Day trip to Puerto Rico, there is "an entire island to explore."