Hi everyone! I know it’s been a while since I posted.
See, the new internship takes a lot out of me. I spend 3-4 hours a day hard at work 3 days a week. That may not sound like much, but add in that I have to travel to and from work, and on top of that I have 3 classes. Admittedly, I’ve not been getting in to one of those classes regularly, but that’s somewhat beside the point.
In addition to that, I had a paper this week that just kicked my butt (it was only 7 pages! It shouldn’t have been so hard!) and a service dog class yesterday that I had to go to. That, after the day out last weekend on Saturday. It was a long, LONG week. Oh yeah, and I had to come in Friday for a meeting at my internship before I went off to service dog class.
All in all, it was an exhausting week.
I love my internship. I work for a GLBT* law project. (Or to be more precise, I work in the legal office of a GLBT center – we have other parts to our center like medical and counseling services, HIV testing, and a branch that does legislative advocacy I think – or maybe that’s part of legal. We don’t interact much with the other branches.) We interns work without much supervision. My first two weeks, it completely terrified me – what if I screwed up one of these cases?! Now that I’m getting used to it, it’s not so bad, and if I’m uncertain about what I’m doing, I ask my boss or one of the more senior interns. I’d like a little more involvement from my boss instead of me having to always go to her, but at least she’s always open to talking to us. The hardest part of my job isn’t the work, it’s telling people that we can’t help them. We don’t take criminal cases, and we don’t take cases unless someone’s GLBT status is at stake. We also can’t take cases where people don’t have the law on their side, which is absolutely the worst part – where you can look at a case and see clearly that someone was wronged because of being GLBT, but there isn’t a law in their county or city that protects them. Our state as a whole doesn’t have a GLBT protection, unfortunately. I currently have 4 cases that are mine, but I can’t talk about the details because it is unfortunately very easy to extrapolate details to the individual. One of the other interns is working on a case where knowing the job title and GLBT status of the client is specific enough to google and find our case! It’s a little bit scary, to be honest, knowing how easily confidentiality can be completely obliterated.
A lot of what we do are comparatively simple, ‘routine’ things like name changes, but we also represent people in for example discrimination claims, adoption proceedings, prisoner’s rights claims, and so on and so forth. It’s definitely a complex practice, and I expect a practice based on disability (what I really want to do in the long run) would be just as complex.
On top of all that, I’ve had 2 migraines and am headed for a third in the space of a week.
All told, it’s made it very hard to do any blogging!
*in this entry I’m using GLBT instead of GLBTQAI (which I prefer) because the center identifies itself as GLBT. I prefer GLBTQAI because I think GLBT is a very limiting way to write things, especially when you’re representing people who may fall under the greater umbrella term but not under your more limited term.
I am NOT inviting a debate on whether what we’re doing is right or not. I believe very strongly that it is, and that it’s human rights work to expect equal treatment for people who gender-identify differently just as much as it is human rights work to expect equal treatment for people with disabilities, for people of different racial and ethnic groups, and for people of different faiths. I think if we leave anyone out in the cold, we have fundamentally gutted our work. To give you a couple of quotes that I think are words to live by: Martin Luther King, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” and J.F.K, “Freedom is indivisible, and when one man is enslaved, all are not free.”
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