This semester, I am interning at a political organization. On my first day, I quickly realized that almost every single intern is either a straight woman or a gay man.
At first I was overjoyed; it was amazing to see that the United States is finally in a place where an influx of women and gay men feel comfortable pursuing a career in politics — a field where success literally depends on how much people like you. However, I quickly wondered why the staff of gay men was where the queer representation stopped.
A few days later, I was talking about this with two queer friends — one who is female and the other who is a trans man — and they quickly looked at each other. While I have always been interested in politics, they both expressed disinterest in politics. This was not because they felt as though their voices did not matter, but because even in 2017, they feel as though their opinions are unwanted and disre- garded. After hearing them out, I under- stood exactly how they felt.
These days, everyone loves to hear some young gay boy talk about how he has been oppressed but found security in the last few years. This has gone to the point that sometimes it seems like people are even eager to find their token gay best friend — GBF. Just think about how many television shows feature gay male characters, versus how many feature lesbian characters or trans characters or bisexual characters. And while it is great that society has embraced gay men after all these years, there is still so much work to do for the rest of the queer community. Don’t get me wrong — I love looking around the office at my internship to see all these gay guys who see their future in the world, especially in politics. But I long for the day when all LGBTQ people see a future for themselves in politics and in the world.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Oct. 2 print edition. Email Andrew Heying at [email protected]