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 shuffled slowly in the security line, waiting for my turn to enter the building. It is the smell of coffee that first hit me when I walked in. It did not smell sour, unlike the k-cups I consume daily to keep me awake in my college dorm. Here, it seemed even more purposeful, fulfilling more than the mere need to stay awake. Everyone here seemed to be on a mission, seeking the next destination, as am I.
I never imagined there would be a day where I would be working in a Congressional office, wearing a full suit and carrying a badge. But this is my reality now, even the cold February wind in Washington, D.C. seems a lot more gentle on my cheeks knowing the shiny golden Victory pin on my shoulder carries my mission – representation. My journey with Victory actually started with the very blog post by a former intern at the LGBTQ+ Victory Institute. They wrote of the coffee too, their coffee meant meeting with other people working on the hill.
Coffee – a word I learned the first week into my internship is so much more than a slightly bitter beverage, it was an opportunity to connect with others, to be seen, to feel heard. I went on my first coffee a few weeks ago. We did not get coffee, we got frozen yogurt instead. Unexpected I know, never did I expect there to be a frozen yogurt machine in the basement of the Senate office building. The coffee scent in the cafe, mixed a conversation with the education and work experience of a staffer working the very position I hope to see myself in was astounding.
Each of the coffee meetings brought me closer to my mission. Everyone I have met so far was introduced to that shiny golden pin that sits on my shoulder. They were introduced to the LGBTQ+ Victory Institute and my eagerness to work closely on issues concerning the LGBTQ+ community. I was able to speak on social issues concerning eating disorders, mental health access, and sex education to Senior staff members. Previously unimaginable. Just today an official form response letter I wrote was approved, before my coffee with the legislative aide I work with, was approved.
If you asked me a year ago when I first applied to this internship program that I would be a member of any cohort, I would not believe you. Now my photo is among many of the faces on the front page of the Victory blog, hoping to bring in similar features that someone will too see and find inspiration in.
As I sip on my coffee, I hope to continue my journey being seen, heard, and maybe someday recognized on Capitol Hill. Here is to the many more weeks of that bitter-sweet, hot-cold beverage and building connections with others.