Anya Benninger, Student Writer

Humans of Messiah College: Charlie Byrd

Year: Senior

Major: Psychology

What kinds of things are you interested in on campus?
I’m a last-semester senior, so at the moment I’m interested in leaving *laughs*. I like stuff in the psych department, especially involving counseling. I’ve also been involved in LGBT interest groups on campus.

What drew you to counseling?

I kind of take on that role in a lot of my friendships anyway, cause I’m the kind of person that defaults to listening rather than talking, so that is very counselor-y thing to do.

What have you been doing with LGBT interest groups?

I’ve been interning at a health clinic that specializes in LGBT stuff. The department I’m working in is helping people living with HIV and AIDS get medical and government assistance stuff that is available to them. We also do clothing drives for transgender people and mental health counseling for specifically LGBT people. They help trans people with medical care, since not a lot of health providers will actually do that. Sometimes people from there will come and do events here.

What drew you to that social issue in particular?

Earlier on, one of my first semesters here, there was an event—I don’t remember who was responsible for putting it on—but it was a discussion with two speakers on several Christian viewpoints on LGBT stuff. I surmised that even if there was disagreement from certain particulars of how Christians people are supposed to interact with LGBT stuff, both sides seemed to be legitimately well-thought-out viewpoints, which was kind of in contrast with what I grew up hearing. Also I was struck by how they seemed to agree on respecting people, which I very quickly noticed is lacking in a lot of circles.

What is the one thing you’re most excited to do after graduating?

I mean, I’m getting married in the summer, so that’s exciting.

What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned from being in a long-term relationship?

Something that I’ve picked up from pre-marital counseling and everything is sometimes you don’t think about how much of an impact the family you’re coming from has on a bunch of your traits as a person and how you interact with people. So it’s been interesting to notice and to figure out, okay, what do I want to keep, what do I want to renovate, what do I want to leave in the garbage can in the hardest-to-find part of campus.