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.