Happy Pride! My name is Froilan Luna, but I prefer to be called Froy – it sounds a little bit cuter and gayer. I want to thank you for the support you provide to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQQ) youth by being a donor to LYRIC.
I was born in Oroville, California, but I grew up in a small conservative town in the East Bay. I graduated high school in 2011, and that summer I found LYRIC. Or maybe LYRIC found me.
The first time I heard about LYRIC was at a community organization event. Two LYRIC staff members were facilitating a workshop about Make Up 101. They told me about LYRIC’s PAID summer internship for LGBTQQ youth, and that got my attention right away!
I still remember the first time I was in the Castro all by myself walking down Collingwood Street and seeing this wonderful, bright lavender old-style Victorian house with the LYRIC sign right next to the entrance. I was so nervous because I didn’t know what to expect, but at the same time I was really excited about walking into a queer-friendly place.
I went up the stairs to the entrance and hit the black buzzer. A voice said “Welcome to LYRIC!” and I said “Hi, my name is Froy.” I’ve never felt a door so heavy like the one at LYRIC. Staff told me it was for protection, which made me feel safer. I knew there wouldn’t be any gay-bashing here.
As you might imagine I was anxious throughout my whole first day experience at LYRIC, but the warm and friendly atmosphere there really helped me fight my nervousness. I met with some LYRIC staff members who told me about one of their community building groups that was going on called M.E.E.T. (Men, Educating and Empowering Together). I went through to the back patio where a group of guys were playing board games and listening to music. It was the first time I was around other queer young men and it felt really nice. They were all really friendly and involved me in the activities they were doing so I didn’t feel like the new kid at school.
That same day LYRIC staff members also gave me more information about the summer internship. I felt really nervous when I applied, but I ended up getting an interview, and eventually I was hired as a LYRIC Summer Intern! I learned about social justice, party planning, ate delicious food, hung out with other queer youth like myself and above all got paid – how sweet is that!
Today, as a Queer Educator, I now lead M.E.E.T. Every time participants come through the door, I want them to experience the welcoming and comfortable space I did when it was my first day. I want them to express themselves however they like, which is what community building is all about.
I’m expanding my skills by partnering with a LYRIC Program Assistant to facilitate the social justice trainings for the new Summer Interns. I want them to feel like LYRIC is a space for open dialogue where the issues in our LGBTQQ community can be addressed. I want them to leave with a sense of fulfillment and hope that change can happen. And it will be us who make it happen.
Because of LYRIC I found out who I really am and developed greater self esteem and self-confidence.
Because of LYRIC I can now educate my peers about important issues in the LGBTQ community.
Because of LYRIC I can now conquer the world with no fear.
I can’t even find the words to explain how much love and gratitude I have for LYRIC and its wonderful staff members – especially my Youth Advocate, Erik Martinez, who helped me throughout my journey of young adulthood. He’s helped me so much by making me feel comfortable in my own skin and accepting myself. I can truly call LYRIC my second home.
Please send a donation to LYRIC today. Your donation will make a real difference in the lives of LGBTQQ youth. Support LGBTQQ youth to help them find out who they really are and develop greater self esteem and self-confidence. Support LGBTQQ youth to educate their peers about important issues in the LGBTQ community. Support LGBTQQ young people to conquer the world with no fear.
Thank you for your support!
Froilan “Froy” Luna
LYRIC Queer Educator
P.S. Please renew your support to LYRIC with a generous gift today. Your donation will help ensure LYRIC remains an important part of our community for all queer youth.