LGBTQ Action and Advocacy Fellow by Brie Gates (A’20)

by tuftsigl
Jun 18

My first week in Washington, DC has been more hectic than I could possibly imagine, but the fast-paced hustle and bustle is paying off in the form of countless incredible opportunities. I am so proud to be spending my time this summer as an Action and Advocacy Fellow with the National LGBTQ Task Force, an organization that has silently and humbly spearheaded some of the most influential human rights work in American history. These next nine weeks will be nothing short of an eye-opening and transformative experience.

One of my first exciting tasks was to attend a briefing on Queering Reproductive Justice at the Capital on Wednesday. Other interns and I learned more about how reproductive justice is an explicitly LGBTQ issue.  We also heard from people and organizations who work toward more inclusive reproductive rights. From the LGBTQ Victory Fund, the organization sponsoring the briefing, we got more information on the reproductive justice movement, which strives to ensure that all people have the economic and political power to seek reproductive care in any city around the country without fear. This includes repealing the Hyde Amendment, supporting Title 10, the Equality Act and the EACH Woman Act, all crucial steps to protect individual reproductive freedom for all people.

At the end of my first week with the Task Force, I was lucky enough to earn a position as a marshal at the 2019 DC Dyke March. The march was a demonstration of queer solidarity and power to combat white supremacy and patriarchy. This year's theme was Dykes Against Displacement, an issue that disproportionately affects the most vulnerable parts of our community - black, brown, queer, trans, and low-income individuals. It was a protest “enacting a vision for queer liberation in DC. This vision is a community, grassroots effort.” I helped guide our fellow protesters and answer questions from bystanders about the issues that the march hoped to highlight.

My first weekend in DC also happened to be Pride weekend, which was an incredible and empowering way to begin my summer. This year is the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots that sparked the Queer Liberation Movement. It has encouraged me to reflect on how the movement began and where the movement is headed, and my work with the National LGBTQ Task Force has shown me that we are definitely moving in the right direction. Being surrounded by so many dedicated and compassionate activists reminds me of why we fight, and I’m so grateful to be a part of this journey.