Prideful D.C.

Although D.C. Pride did not have the same uniquely perfect timing as the San Francisco and NYC (and others’) Pride weekends enjoyed – theirs inaugurated with the historical moment of marriage equality for all ushered into America last Friday – it nonetheless provided for a week of amazing Pride-ful presence across the nation’s capital. Granted, my experience of the Pride Week was undoubtedly enhanced by the fact that I work for an LGBTQ non-profit organization and thus was able to march in the parade, work a booth for the festival, and even visit two local schools to spread the good vibes and awareness to youth in D.C.

That week, I visited both Woodrow Wilson and Cardozo High School for their Pride Day Celebrations as a Trevor advocate – an experience that brought back warm memories of the various efforts and endeavors of the QSA (Queer Straight Alliance) from my own high school. The group was active and motivated when I was a student there – and hopefully still is – and my involvement in the QSA was paramount to the development of my interest in LGBTQ rights and advocacy, especially in relation to LGBTQ youth. Generating ideas among a group of inspired teenagers, all working towards the same common ground, can be such a rewarding experience. I saw that same enthusiasm and interest expressed in students today at the event as groups of friends made their way over to the Trevor table and asked us questions about how to get involved and best protect their peers and themselves against the risks of suicidality and mental health issues.

I really enjoy working in the advocacy and public policy sphere of the Trevor Project. The work keeps me involved and attached to current LGBTQ politics and issues, even though I am not responsible for working the lifeline resource itself. I have such admiration and respect for the Trevor volunteers who spend their time serving on the lifeline and providing that vital support to the youth that need it most – and I’m honestly not sure if I could serve in that position myself, day in and day out. The stories we hear from the lifeline can be utterly devastating. But this opportunity today was unique and heart-warming in that I gained firsthand exposure, even if just for a couple hours, to the population of youth that we seek to support – and so many of them seemed genuinely interested in and thankful for the work that we do. I hope the young people in this country continue to hold onto that drive and inspiration.