Yale Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Volume 4, Issue 1
fall 2013
Editor, Geetanjali Singh Chanda
Managing Editors, Linda Hase & Craig Canfield
Layout Design, Nick Appleby

Nessette Falu, Sarah Pettit Doctoral Fellow in LGBT Studies


Nessette Falu is recipient of the 2013-2014 Sarah Pettit Doctoral Fellowship in LGBT Studies at Yale University and a Ph.D. Candidate in Socio-Cultural Anthropology at Rice University. She recently concluded a year of fieldwork in Salvador-Bahia, Brazil. Her research investigates how self-identified black lesbians (lesbicas negras) draw upon everyday lived experiences to self-advocate and demand respectful recognition toward their sexuality by their gynecologists. This study interconnects various angles that pivot the reproduction of “preconceito” (prejudice) such as the socio-political limitations of Brazilian healthcare reform to combat lesbian discrimination, the entrenched prejudicial attitudes manifesting during gynecological exams, and the thriving and transcending ideas of “bem-estar” (well-being) and sexual health, broadly. Her ethnographic study explores and exposes invisible acts of freedom by lesbicas negras

Nessette Falu is a graduate certificate student and active member of the Center for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality at Rice. She also worked closely with the Program for the Study of Ethnicity, Race, and Culture that bridges intellectual community and promotes race scholarship and pedagogy. She holds a Masters of Divinity from New York Theological Seminary. She has been a practicing Physician Assistant since 2001. Her most recent specialty was HIV medicine which she practiced for three years while in graduate school in Houston. Furthermore, Nessette is the recipient of a fieldwork grant from the Ruth Landes Memorial Foundation, which included seed funds for media production. She has concluded the production phase and plans to complete a short documentary about the lives of some lesbicas negras in Salvador in 2014. Her hometown is New York City, Harlem in specific. She is an avid runner and enjoys New Haven for its jogging culture.
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