The Victory Congressional Fellowship brings one outstanding LGBTQ+ young professional to Washington, DC, for a 10-month fellowship supporting the Executive Director of the Congressional Equality Caucus. Learn more about the fellowship at https://victoryinstitute.org/programs/victory-congressional-fellowship/
Views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of LGBTQ+ Victory Institute or the Congressional Equality Caucus.
The Congressional Equality Caucus is championing a more inclusive narrative for the LGBTQIA+ community. I am deeply thankful for the opportunity to support these Members, however, it’s noteworthy that the Caucus currently lacks representation from the transgender community.
Every day I come to work on Capitol Hill, and every day my community is put on trial. I exist as an out transgender man in a place where the majority attempts to wash away the existence, history, and humanity of my community. I serve the People’s House, but the institution has been contorted into an atmosphere where, for far too long, I, and those like me, have had our voices silenced.
Being one of the few trans staffers on the Hill, I often find myself in an isolating, albeit unique, position. The atmosphere is poisoned by the vile rhetoric spewed by some representatives who propagate harmful stereotypes about my community. The toxicity also extends into the everyday aspects of work life, with microaggressions experienced in the bathroom and the hallways. Each day feels like a battle against both the legislative obstacles and the personal struggles of navigating a space that, at times, seems resistant to acknowledge and respect the diversity within its walls. Yet, in the face of adversity, I remain undeterred to contribute to positive change, hoping that one day these halls will be more inclusive and accepting of all people.
Recently, I had the opportunity to help plan for a Transgender Equality Task Force (TETF) event which featured numerous trans elders with careers in government, advocacy, and public affairs. Growing up, I had limited exposure to role models who represented the breadth of possibilities for trans individuals – what we can achieve, become, and contribute to the world. Throughout my journey, I have grappled with doubts and fears about the viability of my own career as an openly trans man. The TETF event was one of the first times in my career that I found myself in a room full of trans public servants who have harnessed their experiences, struggles, and triumphs into powerful forces for change and resilience. They are a role model for what I and other trans young people can become, serving as a vital reminder that I have a powerful voice that demands to be heard.
Trans legislators are symbols of hope and cultivate empathy and humanity for our community, but it isn’t just elected officials who drive change. The journey of a trans staffer is not just a personal one; it reflects a collective struggle for visibility, understanding, and acceptance. As we continue to break down barriers and promote inclusivity, let the call be clear – we need more trans representation on Capitol Hill. Trans staffers, advocates, and legislators are not just a symbol of progress; they’re a commitment to a more representative and equitable society, where everyone is integrated into decision-making.
Trans people are, and should be, everywhere. I am not the first trans staffer on the Hill, and I most certainly will not be the last.