I am not a morning person, but when I wake up in DC, I am. The morning means that my day has started, and I wake up each morning excited. I’ve heard my whole life how I need to find a job I love, and one week in, I feel like I’ve found it. There’s something incredible about working for an organization I care about so passionately with people that are as eager to be there as I am.
This last week has been packed full of things. I spent some time with Matt and Abby, two close friends from abroad, as well as checking out the Air and Space Museum.
I also got to see the pandas at the zoo, which lord knows was probably the most exciting moment of the last six months! I haven’t seen a panda in many years (I was maybe in middle school when my family took me to the Memphis Zoo just to see them), and I can only describe how I felt by asking a dog lover how they would feel seeing a cute pup after going without dogs for years. Or by waiting in line to see your favorite celebrity – a furry, cute and endangered one at that.
On Monday, I lobbied Congress for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and LGBT inclusion in Comprehensive Immigration Reform with the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE). This was definitely one of the toughest, most educational and worthwhile experiences I’ve had. Alongside three other Arkansans, I spoke to staff members from Senators John Boozman and Mark Pryor as well as Congressman Tim Griffin himself.
Lobbying can be somewhat discouraging when your congressmen don’t necessarily think the way you do. At some points, it felt like I wasn’t being heard at all. There were also moments where I felt like they were truly listening to me, and that was empowering. As awful and foreign as our political process can be, I felt, for once, that I was actually playing some small role in it.
I have been attending a lot of educational talks from prominent members of LGBT organizations, like the HRC and the NCTE. It’s been really eye-opening learning more about transgender issues, something I had a lot less experience with before coming here. The equality movement is going strong, but there are a lot of considerations to take in moving forward.
All 29 interns have finally arrived and started work. Everyone is really cool, and we have spent a lot of time together! We are all hanging out at my dorm before heading out tonight, which should be really fun!