OutPower

Birthday – Bridget Beavin

OUT ON THE HILL is the official blog of the Victory Congressional Interns. Views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of LGBTQ Victory Institute. Learn more about the internship at victoryinstitute.org/vci

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Last week, I turned 21 years old. My birthday came at the midpoint of my Victory Congressional Internship and was a symbol of how I have grown throughout my time here. I believe that to move forward, you have to look back and grapple with how we are all remnants of past systems. I have done this on a personal level but also on a broader level these past four weeks.

For two weeks, we completed programming on the importance of LGBTQ+ history in the movement going forward. The 16 members of my Victory Congressional Internship cohort completed presentations on underrepresented stories, and I had the honor of presenting about Christine Jorgenson. As the first trans woman to gain wide recognition for receiving gender reassignment surgery in the U.S., Christine illuminated how much visibility of queer folks has improved but also how much work we need to do.

In a conversation with a mentor, they remarked that they felt an immense joy at seeing the Pride flag fly over the Department of the Treasury. This moment connected Christine’s story to the present for me, as representation is as vital today as it was in the 1950’s. It is why I felt so moved to hear Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, the representative I am interning for, address the crowd as a proud gay man at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Pride Reception. The reception was a place where queerness was not only visible but celebrated without condition. I had the honor of meeting Tim Gunn, the host of Project Runway, and Charlotte Clymer, a trans veteran I have followed on Twitter for quite some time. Seeing these queer icons meant the world to me as a young queer person.

Personally, I have used the inspiration of queer history and representation from Victory programming to reflect on my individual transformation this summer. I have grown in age but also in confidence, intention, and in purpose. I feel comfortable taking initiative and advocating for myself in my Congressional office and in life. Last week, I noticed that we had several constituents contact the office about a certain issue that the Congressman had not spoken about. I prepared a memo on the issue, composed a form letter to respond, and learned that the Congressman would support the issue. It was rewarding to see that my work was recognized and that I had grown to feel secure in taking on more responsibility.

Another sign of the growth I have undergone is finding moments of joy and hope in what can be incredibly somber times working on Capitol Hill. I attended a Senate committee hearing on the baby formula shortage crisis and listened to an hour of testimony on how parents are driving hours to find formula for their children. Though disheartening, I also heard Senators from both parties agree that it is high time to address the larger issue of market consolidation, and it was inspiring to hear that they could come together in the face of tragedy to find a solution.

I see this internship as a turning point for me. It has reinvigorated me with a desire to make positive change, to value myself and my actions more, and to see the positive in a world of increasing negatives. I am excited to continue my reflection on the journey of the queer community as well as my own journey in the hopes that I can invest this knowledge into a brighter future.