Back in May, during the first week of my internship with The Bilerico Project, as I was beginning to get more acquainted with the blog, the contributors, and the broader world of LGBT media, I asked Bil a question to which I already knew the answer: "This is going to be a pretty gay summer, right?"
It definitely has been.
This summer I became immersed in the LGBT media world and was constantly reading LGBT news (to the point where I somehow even managed to escape the wall-to-wall Casey Anthony coverage). I tried to brush up on the history of the LGBT community, introduce myself to some of my favorite bloggers, and read and watch as much as I could - She's Not There, The Front Runner, The Boys in the Band, Outrage, and dozens of Dan Savage articles come to mind.
I'm humbled to have been included among the amazing members of the Bilerico team. From our awesome contributors to our loyal readers and commenters to the wonderful ed team of Bil, Jill, and Jerame, I've learned so much. I'm thrilled that Bil has a "throw them in and see if they can keep their head above water" strategy to mentoring interns. Without knowing that he and the rest of the ed team had confidence in me, I would have learned significantly less from this experience.
I suppose it's been an arguably nontraditional internship. While my friends complained about their long commutes into work, where they had to toil away in a cubicle for eight hours every day, I shared my experiences getting up to commute to the local coffee shop or meet Bil in DC for a work day - or better yet, fire off blog posts from the comfort of the back porch.
Enjoying the luxuries of a shorts-and-T-shirt wardrobe didn't mean this summer was easy. I was continually expected to deliver solid content - and having an "off" day could mean a huge error or misrepresentation in a post.
The blogging format took some getting used to - as a journalism major and one of the editors of Buzzsaw, a monthly magazine at Ithaca College, I had become used to having extensive time to brainstorm, outline, write, edit, rewrite, and interview. This summer, I still had to do all of those things - just three times as fast.
I've gotten to write some of the coolest or most interesting pieces I've ever written, and I've been able to work on my commentary skills, (like in the HRC Vandalism piece), investigative journalism (like in the Lez Get Real soap opera saga), the tedious practice of list-generating (like in the LGBT History package) and most importantly, the art of following up on a story and shaping your publication as the go-to source for information (like in the GLAAD/AT&T coverage). Learning on the job is one of the most exciting, scariest things I've ever done.
Today's the last day of my internship. I'll still be staying on the team to help out and contribute articles, but you probably won't see my face on the homepage three times a day.
I just wanted to take this last day to take a minute to voice my appreciation for this incredible opportunity. So thanks, contributors, for providing me with positive writing role models and encouraging me to direct action and LGBT advocacy. Thanks, commenters, for always keeping me on my toes, helping me understand my shortcomings, and allowing me to improve my communication skills. Thanks, Jill and Jerame for being amazing sources of feedback, information, and support. And thanks, Bil, for giving me a thousand and one opportunities to grow as a writer, journalist, and activist. I can't thank you enough.
It's been a pretty gay summer, yes, but I'm sure that in the coming months - or years, really - it won't get any less gay. And that's perfectly fine with me.
(Ps - if you know anyone interested in LGBT media or journalism in general, let them know about my awesome experience with The Bilerico Project, and encourage them to get in touch! The application period for a fall intern is still open!)