Sistah Summerfest 2003
                June 6-8, 2003
An Event for Womyn of all Ages,
                               Lifestyles and Persuasions



Ingrid Rivera-Dessuit  FemmeNoir Events Contact Coffee Klatch Commentary Village
Sharon Bridgforth
Lorraine Hansberry
Audre Lorde
Dionne Brand
Pat Parker
Evelyn C. White
Cherrie Moraga
Cheryl Clarke
Angelina W. Grimke
Ingrid Rivera-Dessuit
Marci Blackman
Shay Youngblood
Akilah Monifa
Alexis DeVeaux
Alice Dunbar Nelson
Alice Walker
Ayin Adams
Becky Birtha
Beth Brant
C.C. Carter
Helen Elaine Lee
Jewelle Gomez
Linda Villarosa
LaShonda Barnett
Michelle T. Clinton
Nikky Finney
Penny Mickelbury
Rebecca Walker
Dr. Shirlene Holmes
Siobhan Brooks
Staceyann Chin
Ta'Shia Asanti

Ingrid Rivera-Dessuit
Racial and Economy Policy Analyst, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute

Ingrid Rivera-Dessuit says, "Asking me why I am a lesbian is like asking me why I have brown eyes. Because that's my reality. Because that's who I am." Ms. Rivera-Dessuit was featured in the March issues of EBONY where she talked about coming out of the closet, embracing her sexuality and educating others about homosexuality.

At 17, while pregnant, a high school drop-out, and in an abusive heterosexual relationship, Rivera-Dessuit courageously came to terms with her strong attraction to women, and began on a path toward turning her life around. As she writes, "A slow process of education and self- empowerment driven by my need to care for the child I was about to bring into the world helped me leave the lies and abuse."  A teenager and unwed mom, she moved to Massachusetts from New York to start a new life.  Little did she know her new life would involve making national headlines while fighting the religious right to organize the first lesbian, gay and trans pride march in Lawrence.  She is as dedicated to the gay community as she is to her 10-year-old daughter, Amanda.

On Feminism:  "I have to be honest, I haven't thought about the question of using the term that much. I do feminist work--for a movement for social and political change and for equality for women and all people. But I say I'm an activist for women's rights. I don't think I ever seriously considered taking up the term. One reason is that when I think of feminists, the first image that comes to mind is white women. Another is the image of a man-hating dyke. I am not man-hating, but I am a dyke.

Before coming out, when I was still questioning, it was too scary to use that word. But now that I'm out and I know who I am, I don't relate to the word because the movement doesn't encompass and hasn't really shown interest in all women. I have been referred to by others as a feminist--because of the work I do--and that doesn't bother me. But I don't own the term."  Source:  Ms. Magazine -- March 2001.

A Lesbian Voice In Ebony Magazine:  The March issue of Ebony Magazine, featured "Why I Am A Lesbian," written by Ingrid Rivera-Dessuit. The article’s headline is given cover placement with the other feature stories. Her first-person article was an intimate look at Rivera-Dessuit’s life from early childhood through the present. The narrative centered on her trying to deny her true feelings at first, coming out of the closet, facing her family’s reactions and dealing with her daughter being subjected to a homophobic world.

Her story educated readers about what it means to be a lesbian, additionally, Rivera-Dessuit also wrote about the connection between oppressed communities. "I will continue to work in any capacity to ensure that my family, young and old LGBT people and society in general are free from all types of oppression," she writes. "I strive to show my family the importance of linking all struggles and discriminatory acts. With time comes change and, at times, understanding. Society has a long way to go in the struggle for LGBT human rights and it has made some accomplishments. Until we can realize the connections and how oppressions work to conquer and divide society, we will never be a united liberated front."

Ingrid, through her article, serves as a role model by showing how enriching the world can be by embracing diversity and showing that multiple social identities do not have to be mutually exclusive of each other.

Contact Ingrid Rivera for speaking engagements at Black Lavender Resources, the source for leading Black gay, lesbian, same gender loving speakers.
David S. Neale, Owner & Resource Manager
Black Lavender Resources
P.O. Box 1806
Wheaton, MD 20915-1806
301-649-3874 (fax)

301-702-2009 (p)
301-702-8792 (f)

Press on Ingrid Rivera

, March, 2001
"Why I Am A Lesbian".

Ms., Feb, 2001
"The F Word".

NGLTF, June, 2000
"Ingrid Rivera-Dessuit Named Racial and Economic Justice Policy Analyst at NGLTF Policy Institute".



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