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.
I want to first express my immense gratitude for all I learned and experienced in Congressmember Takano’s office. The staff is incredibly supportive and consistently offered opportunities to contribute to projects, recommended networking events, and chatted with me over coffees. Not only are the staff in Congressmember Takano’s office some of the sharpest, most hardworking, and most creative individuals I’ve had the pleasure to know, they are also the most hilarious. Every day someone made me laugh at a joke or smirk at a witty comment.
Each day was a new opportunity. Many days I led tours, introducing constituents to the vast history of the Capitol building. On other days I attended hearings or researched policies spanning topics from federal lands’ maintenance to LGBTQ issues to transportation. I adored racing the other interns to see who could pick up the phone first and genuinely enjoyed hearing the concerns of constituents in the district. When leaving the office, I always walked away joyfully, ready for tomorrow.
During one of my most exciting days on the Hill, Congressmember Takano reintroduced the Equality Act with the support of every Democrat in the House. Before the event, I eagerly directed the press, congressional staff, LGBTQ community members, and Congress members into the briefing room with a giant blue and red “Equality Act” sign. Just as the press briefing was about to begin, I ran into the packed room and fought for a place to stand. I listened in awe to several Congressmembers speak about the importance of civil rights protections for the LGBTQ community. While I anticipate that it will require tireless efforts from both advocates and politicians, the passion of the Congressmembers during this presser reassured me that the Equality Act will be law!
The evening after the Equality Act press briefing, I had the great honor of volunteering at the Equality PAC gala. I spoke with members of the Equality Caucus, Montana State Representative Zooey Zephyr, and former Delaware State Senator Sarah McBride.
In my first blog post, “There is No Time To Waste,” I begin with a quote from former State Senator Sarah McBride. I did not plan on including a quote from her in my final post; however, after working in Congress and interacting with politicians and staff across the political spectrum, I feel her words prove instructive once again.
At the gala, Sarah McBride expressed that all queer and trans youth deserve to feel like they belong, noting the nationwide attacks against trans youth. And yet, at the end of her speech, she asserted that she was “more hopeful than [she had] ever been that the story of this moment is not of bigotry and backlash but of pride and progress.” Then, she announced her candidacy for Congress— an inspiring moment I will never forget.
Throughout my internship, I was often reminded of my fortunate position as an intern in an LGBTQ+ accepting office and in a cohort with other queer interns. Despite the dozens of times I experienced a transphobic or homophobic phone call, voicemail, letter, or conversation while working, those moments of hatred are overshadowed tenfold by the positive conversations and interactions I had in DC.
I truly believe Sarah McBride is correct, this moment is not of bigotry and backlash but of pride and progress. I share Sarah McBride’s optimism for the future in large part because of the incredible community that has embraced, embolden, and invigorated me during my Victory Congressional Internship. Progress is inevitable because thoughtful, committed LGBTQ individuals and allies are working tirelessly toward equality and advancement.
My time on the hill and with the Victory Institute has reinforced my plans to continue my education after I graduate from Smith College and to seek opportunities to serve the LGBTQ+ community!