Reflecting

After completing my last week at the Kalamazoo Gay Lesbian Resource Center and reflecting on my experience, I could not be more satisfied with my time there. I have grown in so many ways because of this internship. Gender and Women’s Studies encourages students to use a feminist lens and values and I did just this. It is easy to observe the inequalities that the LGBT community faces, but what is in the media is only the tip of the ice berg. There are so many deeper issues within the community that I was able to observe through my internship. Fortunately Kalamazoo is very diverse and has supporters for the LGBT community, but there are still many people and the government holding them back from achieving equality. One of the first things I learned was that people in Michigan can be denied housing and fired for being gay. I knew that I was not the only person unaware of these laws and felt compelled to tell others. This internship has taught me how important knowledge is and being active in your community is to create change. There would not have been ordinances passed in the surrounding townships without all the help from the community members coming together. The Resource Center strives to help anyone in need and creates events to bring everyone together. Every community needs a center like this to help the LGBT community and help reduce inequalities.

Going forward, I will continue to use the skills I obtained through this internship and spreading the things I learned. I now know of resources that are helpful to the LGBT community and feel my role as an ally has strengthened because of my experiences. This internship has helped me grow as a person and use my Gender and Women’s Studies skills in real world settings.

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LGBT Inequalities

One main aspect discussed in Gender and Women’s Studies that I have also encountered throughout my internship is the issue of inequality. This includes the inequality experienced by the LGBT community as well as those that occur within the community. Many experience inequalities that are more obvious such as not being able to marry the same sex or not being able to adopt a child if the couple is of the same sex. The LGBT community faces other obstacles in Michigan that many are not aware of. Because of my internship I have learned about some laws that help enforce these inequalities. The two specific laws, or lack thereof, that shocked me, are that people in the LGBT community can be denied housing and fired from their place of employment because of their sexuality. I could not believe this is even accepted by society and I had assumed that all people deserve to have a place to live and work. I felt it was my duty to spread this knowledge with others with hope it would plant a seed and create change even if it was small. It is important people are aware of such laws because if enough people rise together amendments can be made.