OutPower

Full Circle Moment – Michael Gadinis

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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Back in May, as I was packing to make the trek down to Washington, D.C. for the summer, I found myself questioning why I was doing this program. I have always known that I wanted to work in a Congressional office so that was not something I questioned. I was mainly wondering why I chose the Victory program. Congressional internships are stressful in themselves, so why did I choose to tack on an additional program to the summer? Thankfully, this question was quite easily answerable, as all the components of this “additional program” are enhancive, not detrimental, to a fulfilling summer here in D.C.

For starters, the Victory Congressional Internship (VCI) program grants its interns access to spaces that would otherwise be inaccessible to traditional Congressional interns. Washington, D.C. during pride month is a sight to be seen: the city is busy and joyous, with pride flags lining storefronts like I have never seen before. The nation’s capital during a midterm year is also a sight to be seen: the city is busy and hectic, with fundraiser after fundraiser to support various causes in anticipation of the upcoming election. Combine the two, especially in June, and you find countless events centered around fundraising for queer causes and candidates and celebrating queer excellence in the political sphere. As a Victory intern, I had the privilege of attending some of these events. I got to go to a LGBTQ+ Presidential Appointments reception and speak with some of the trailblazers behind the most inclusive administration to date. I got to go to a DCCC Pride reception and meet some of our nation’s most influential politicians with an unwavering desire to support LGBTQ+ equality. At these receptions and more, simply being in spaces with LGBTQ+ professionals in D.C. gave me a glimpse into a potential future that I did not think possible.

The VCI program also provides a robust curriculum of Friday programming. This programming served as a perfect culmination to end our weeks in our Congressional offices. Some weeks we would enhance our understanding of LGBTQ+ history, such as the week where we went on a LGBTQ+ history tour of D.C. Other weeks, we got to hear from panels of LGBTQ+ professionals in different fields, such as a panel of four different lobbyists. Much like the receptions, these programming days allowed me to continue viewing my summer experience through a queer lens. They provide me with the chance to both contextualize the work that I have been doing and gain insight into what may lie next.  

Finally, the VCI program provides a cohort of interns that I would otherwise not have had the privilege to be a part of. Throughout this summer, I have been honored to know and grow closer to a group of 15 intelligent, accomplished, and inspiring LGBTQ+ peers. I have had the chance to hear Bridget’s always fascinating stories, to joke with Hol about how their almond beverage sat next to my whole milk in the fridge, and to bond with Lauren while trying to escape a downpour of rain. I have had the chance to go home from a long day of work and know that I have friends there to support me and make sure that I am taking care of myself. Most importantly, I have had the chance to put myself in a space that is decidedly queer – an influential component of this summer for someone who has never found themselves in queer spaces.

Writing this blog post brings my summer full circle. Just as I reflected on why I chose Victory when I came down to Washington, D.C., I am now able to take the time and reflect on why that decision was undoubtedly the wisest choice I could have made.