OutPower

Laying the Foundation – Evynn Bronson

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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I knew that moving to Washington, DC to do an internship with the LGBTQ Victory Institute was going to be a substantial step in my life, but I couldn’t comprehend how fundamental it would be in understanding my identity. 

I hadn’t even come out to my family before I applied for the Victory Congressional Internship. This internship provided me an opportunity to come out to my family attached to an amazing work experience that would significantly propel me in my political career. It made the process much easier. I couldn’t comprehend the idea of working among other queer politicians and having an open forum to learn about the LGBTQ+ history movement, but the excitement set in immediately. 

Our first day of orientation felt so comfortable, and we set intentions for the program in creating an open environment that allowed for safe and productive conversations. Each of the interns entered with such different life experiences that they openly shared and our conversations have deepened my understanding and perspectives on myriad policy points. I value the ability that we have to challenge each other while we learn a history and culture that was never accessible to me in small-town Idaho education.

On one of my first nights in the city, I can recall staying up late with my roommates just talking. We listened to each others’ life stories and talked about social issues, discussed policies, shared experiences about navigating queer relationships, and talked about our different religious backgrounds. I never anticipated the relationships that I was going to be able to develop with a community of such like-minded people while here. I have grown so close with my intern cohort and know that these are lifelong friendships that will continue past the end of our time together in DC. 

Working in congress has also been so extremely educational for me. I knew that I had an interest in politics, but through my hands-on involvement in the legislative creation process, I have come to understand the true work that goes into creating inclusive and sustainable policies that help society progress. Of course, there were hard days that I spent fetching coffee and changing printer cartridges, but I have such a greater appreciation for all the work that happens on the hill and my desire to be involved continues to grow. I have also made incredible connections within the office, especially with the other interns. One of the staffers in my office is helping me secure a job for the summer and the ripple effects of my network are already beginning. 

More than any single experience I have had in DC, the last 10 weeks have helped me recognize that there is so much more social progress that needs to be made, and I should take great pride in activism to insight change. I found a group of friends and colleagues who’ve enjoyed my company regardless of my sexual orientation, and I began to replace my fears with acceptance and authenticity. I will forever hold on to the relationships that were created in DC because these people have helped me discover the genuine Evynn. They have helped me find pride in being out. They have helped me feel safe. And they have inspired me to help others find the same in their lives.