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.
“El mundo es mio”
With just over a week left here in Washington, D.C., I reflect back on what this experience has provided me and what is next for me. Over the past few weeks I have had the chance to be a part of a Congressional office, working on many different tasks from drafting documents, attending briefings, answering phones, and more. Prior to coming to Capitol Hill, I was fairly confident that I wanted to go to law school. My main reason for getting a J.D. was to help immigrants stay in the United States and to help get visa applications submitted and approved. This strive stemming from others that I have come to know that have faced similar situations. I thought that becoming an immigrantion attorney was the only substantial way that I could help and the only way I would create a difference in people’s lives. After talking with others on and off Capitol Hill that work on immigration-related issues, it became even more apparent to me that there are many ways to help and not all alternative options demanded that I get a J.D. in order to create change. A key moment that put this into perspective for me was when I was talking with a Senate staffer and they stated “If you want to enforce the law, then get a law degree, but if you want to create the law, then get a graduate degree”. I then strayed away from thinking about a law degree and instead began shifting towards looking at master degree programs with a public policy component.
“If I do not bring all of who I am to whatever I do, then I bring nothing, or nothing of lasting worth, for I have withheld my essence.”
Being from California and right around Los Angeles, you would think that I have lots of queer friends,while I love my friends, my friend group does not reflect the extent of the LGBTQ community. I thought that I was fine with not having as many queer friends but it was not until this program that I realized that this was a missing puzzle piece in my life. Going out to different places, going to drag shows, being surrounded by more queer people than I have ever been surrounded by in my life has caused me to have an epiphany and a realization that I should not be trying to find comfort in what I have now. Instead, I should be seeking out more queer people and more queer places. This realization dawned on me like that scene in Grey’s Anatomy when Dr. Hahn realized that the green shapes on trees were leaves after getting glasses. The point that I am trying to make is that I thought I would be fine if my friend groups were mainly straight people but after meeting the queer people in this very queer city, I do not want to just be the only gay person in a group of people. I want to be one of many queer people in a group.
“I believe your reality is what you make it, what you choose to see, and what you choose to allow yourself to do. There are possibilities all around you – magic all around you – no matter what situation you’re in”
A final take away from this experience would be to be open to all possibilities. When I first got to Washington, D.C. I had an idea of what this program was going to be and what I wanted to do when I got here. I had a very “type A” attitude about things, but learned that I should embrace anything that may come my way. I became more confident, more open to different experiences, and rediscovered hope for our movement despite what is going on throughout the country.
“The only thing they have to look forward to is hope. And you have to give them hope. Hope for a better world, hope for a better tomorrow, hope for a better place to come to if the pressures at home are too great. Hope that all will be alright.”
There were moments in this program that made me put the entire picture into focus and look at all the moving parts. As a person that looks at reality and tries to think of every negative outcome in order to think of solutions, the negatives would make me rethink this line of work. There were moments that I felt this everlasting struggle for our human rights was exhausting. The constant back and forth of securing rights just for another oppressive policy to pop up and strip us of everything all over again. Despite the constant battle, we must counteract these negative policies for the youth in the community, for those who are not ready to join the fight, and for the entire community.