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Who: Lambda Legal
If you’re a supporter of LGBT rights, you may know Lambda as the heroic impact litigators who struck down sodomy laws through the landmark 2003 Supreme Court case, Lawrence v. Texas. If you prefer Rush Limbaugh’s politics, you may know Lambda as the Lavender Legal Mafia.
What: Education and Public Policy Intern
Unlike my friends interning for investment banks or publishing houses on Wall Street, I don’t do data entry or get people coffee. The department is as broad as it sounds, and I do a variety of legit work. For example, I work on promotional material for Lambda’s documentary about the Lawrence decision, write for their magazine, and table at Pride events.
Where: Wall Street (not as glam as it sounds)
I will never get over the working conditions. Another intern and I work in a tiny closet that somehow fits two desks; the sluggish computers must be at least a decade old; the paint peels off the undecorated walls, and staff members frequently turn off lights and air conditioning to save money, even in 90-degree heat. Attorneys who handle Supreme Court cases work here? Really? At least I know that Lambda makes the most of every penny they have.
When: Forever! Please?
Unfortunately, I only work a couple of days a week plus special events. But if things go as planned, I’ll be back. Please, Lambda, if you are out there, give me a real job with an actual salary when I graduate. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Why: Because Lambda gives me butterflies in my tummy
I want to MARRY this organization. Like forget everything else; I will devote my life to my work. In all seriousness, no other organization does what Lambda does with half the focus or success. In addition to striking down sodomy laws, Lambda has fought discrimination and rights violations in marriage, employment, military service, housing, adoption, health care, education, and literally everything else you could think of. It's critical work on the cutting edge of civil rights law, and let's be honest -- nothing gets me more excited than constitutional law.
Fun Facts: the minimum you should know
Basics: same-sex couples can’t get married in 48 states and often can't adopt children. LGBT individuals can’t serve openly in the military and are frequently fired from other jobs when their employers discover that they are gay. In many cases, nothing happens because such discrimination is not illegal in most places.
Until 2003, it was illegal to have anal or oral sex in 13 states (incidentally, that included my home state). Thanks for changing that, Lambda!
Just this year, a man was sentenced to 35 years in jail for assault with the deadly weapon. The weapon of choice? His saliva – the saliva of a man with HIV. Unfortunately for him, the jury didn’t understand you can’t get HIV from getting spit on.
F*ck yes: These people are so much cooler than me
Everyone I’ve met ranks as one of the nicest people I have ever met. They also know how to throw parties ranging from casual bar mixers to swanky soirees at the W Hotel. They also include people who have argued in front of the Supreme Court (my lifelong dream). I even got to escort the attorney who did oral argument for Lawrence to the party at the W and make sure he didn’t have to wait in line. Score. (And yes, I do know that I’m a huge nerd.)
I could do without: Wanting to be the cool kid
Being the only straight kid in the office gets awkward. I wouldn’t say that I understand what it’s like to be the only gay kid in school, but I do feel a lot like Dizzy/Gil from the awesomely bad movie “The New Guy.” When dorky Dizzy changes his name to Gil and goes to a new school, he becomes instantly popular but has to work hard to hide his past as a major loser with a “broke dick.” His new friends eventually discover his secret, and chaos ensues. Similarly, I think my coworkers at Lambda like me, but I’m paranoid about being “discovered” as a straight girl. What if no one likes me anymore? What if people think I don’t belong? WAHHHH.
It’s also tricky when people start off with the assumption that I’m a lesbian. Here is a sampling of my awkward encounters:
Girl at intern mixer: “Do you watch the Logo network? Of course you do; silly question. Who’s your favorite character on The L Word?”
Me: “Uh I don’t really watch much TV.”
Coworker reacting to my grandma stopping by at Pride: “It’s so wonderful that your family is so supportive. Being a young lesbian is so much easier with a family like that.”
Me: “Yeah…my family is pretty awesome.”
Boss: “We’re trying to add information about being out at college. Feel free to include any personal experiences in your comments.”
I can never seem to get the “well, actually…” out of my mouth. Can I just pass as a bisexual for the rest of my life?