Coming Out Week speaker encourages personal growth

Poet and activist Ingrid Rivera spoke about her experiences as a lesbian black Boricua and hosted an open mic session Wednesday night in the Tavern. A self-described queer Latina, Rivera performed poetry on issues such as racial profiling, growing up Latina and exploring her own sexuality.

Kennedy Political Union, Eagle Nights, Latin and American Student Organization, AU Queers and Allies, the Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Ally Resource Center and the Office of Multicultural Affairs co-sponsored the event as part of Hispanic Heritage Month and National Coming Out Week.

However, Rivera said she doesn't like the word Hispanic "because I am a Latina."

Rivera employed humor throughout her performance. After reciting a poem about masturbation, Rivera said, "Touching yourself is a wonderful thing, everyone should do it. If everyone did it, we wouldn't have wars."

Rivera also shared her perspective on National Coming Out Week, stating that the week was not so much about coming out but rather "feeling comfortable and knowing who you are."

Rivera's message hit home for some students.

"I thought she was amazing. It's good to hear from a female gay minority. It inspired me as a queer minority to become active on campus," junior Summer Wosu said.

After Rivera performed, the mic was opened to students willing to share their poetry. Five students talked about current issues affecting the GLBT community and students in the racial minority.

"I thought it was really amazing for people to speak their minds and souls," said Spike Huntington, who presented "Faggot," a poem provoked by anti-gay graffiti.

Other students addressed the war in Iraq, sisterhood and male homosexuality.

"It's encouraging to know that all of the organizations were willing to collaborate and expose AU students to issues that may be controversial," senior Aria Jones said.

This style of event is fairly experimental for KPU.

"The event was somewhat untraditional," KPU Director Emily Fuller said. She added that hopes to continue including student interaction at KPU events.

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