Roland Palencia is an LGBTQ activist pioneer, and founded a number of Queer Latin organizations in the 1980s, including Gay and Lesbian Latinos Unidos and VIVA!, an arts organization. Currently, he is the Community Benefits Director and a leadership trainer at L.A. Care Health Plan, the largest public health plan in the nation.
He is the former Executive Director of Equality California, a statewide organization dedicated to securing legal protections for LGBTQ communities in California. In 2003, he was appointed as the Greater Los Angeles Regional Director at The California Endowment, the largest private health foundation in California. In 1999, he held the position of Executive Director at Clinica Monseñor Oscar A. Romero, and in 1992, he was appointed as the Chief of Operations and Vice-President at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. He has received numerous recognitions and awards for his community service, including “Local Hero” by PBS-KCET and Union Bank of California. He is a former Antioch University Los Angeles Board of Trustee.
He received his B.A. from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), and he is a former California State University Northridge (CSUN) Lecturer in the Central American Studies department. He is currently attending Pacifica Graduate Institute to obtain a Masters in the Humanities. His community work and advocacy has been highlighted in a number of Central American and LGBTQ books and publications, including Lilian Faderman’s “The Gay Revolution.” He is the Executive Producer of “TransVisible: Bamby Salcedo’s Story,” a documentary depicting the life and activism of Bamby Salcedo, a nationally renowned transgender Latina activist.