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.
Snow. I saw it for the first time. It is a wild sight coming from someone who grew up in southwest Florida. I stared at it for a long time, as this strange carpet of cold cotton stuck to my boots and my mind for the rest of the journey. After a few minutes of awe, my feet carry me in an excited jog and my ears intently listen to the sounds of the city. My heavy steps join the symphony of sirens from a motorcade rushing about as much as I am to the Capitol. I stop for a moment now seeing the marbled sight through the branches of deciduous trees whose leaves were lost from the cold. Seeing for the first time that iconic dome, now my new place of work this Spring. Capitol Hill, with all its glistening marble offices, is the same color of snow with my brain reacting in the same delighted disbelief upon seeing it. Yet there it is, and here I am.
The realization of understanding soon hit me and my face became nervous and cheeks about as white as as the Capitol too. Someone like me is not the norm in Congress. Someone like me, by many accounts, really should not have made it this far. But here I am, an openly transgender woman, now working in the hallowed halls of an institution I once only read about in social studies textbooks. It is as real as ever, and my first day working within the legislative branch is now.
Upon arriving, I was received with the kindest welcome I could hope for in such a fast paced environment. I walked the stone halls and columned walls in wonder, with my supervisor vicariously living his own distant nostalgia through my own sparkled eyes. I adventured around the building, and as lost as I physically was in the vastness of history, I had the unique feeling that I belonged. That the work I can do for constituents, as well as for the LGBTQ+ community that has been so kind to me during my struggles, is work that I can be glad to do. But more than that, to work with pride alongside the many LGBTQ+ political nerds such as myself, as we all gradually contribute to a cause greater than ourselves in our pursuit to chisel at the lavender ceiling metaphorically above us. Even gentle expressions of who we really are can make so much of a difference in these halls. A rainbow flag was even set up outside the congressional office, the only one in our building. I smile knowing that this small task, as my first action, is the first of many in a life I hope to dedicate to the betterment of those that love freely.
The archaic beliefs that formed the cornerstones of these buildings continue to lurk in my mind. I work in a building built by slaves, and wandered as a tourist to the historical chambers where so many lost the desperate fight for human rights, and where those fights largely continue. This does not dissuade me under the realization that there have been centuries of struggle, but also centuries of progress. Where a single trans girl, such as myself, might help to carry the baton so many have passed through the centuries, and where I can surround myself with those that learned to turn their shame into pride and help me do the same with my own. It is for that reason, despite cold snow on the ground and the wind echoing a coming spring, that I have felt warmer than I ever have in Florida.