Building a Safe Place for LGBTQ Youth in San Antonio

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November 10, 2020

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[Credit:David Luna]

(SAN ANTONIO, Texas) —David Laidacker Luna has two jobs: a corporate trainer for TJX corporation(Tjmaxx, Homegoods,etc.) and president of the volunteer-run organization Fiesta-Youth. The mission of the program is to cater to LGBTQ teens and their parents.

Established in 2013, the program has expanded to include college readiness programs, scholarships, local fundraising, and fun activities such as the largest LGBTQ prom in south Texas. It is the only LGBTQ organization in Texas to have a program with the city library system. 

Luna spoke with The Click about how his program is helping LGBTQ youth in San Antonio. 

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

The Click: What established the organization? 

Luna: “It was a mother’s quest, seven years ago. Her daughter just came out to her, here in San Antonio, and there was no place for her to take her. She took her daughter all the way to Austin to “Outyouth.” She was annoyed with the drive and got together with seven community organizers over coffee asking. “How do we get something started here?” 

They really just reached into their pockets, had 50 bucks, gathered together, and Fiesta-Youth was born.

The Click: What types of Programs does the organization provide?

Luna: Every Tuesday night, the kids come together for a meeting. A place where they can be themselves, go on trips to schools, libraries, and museums and have guest speakers come in like politicians. The mayor even came in during the pandemic in June and wished everyone a happy pride month. It was really, really nice of him to do that.

 On Friday nights, the kids do a discord server (A chat room like slack.com) and basically talk about their week. 

Right now, with the whole pandemic, every six weeks, we’re doing a monthly wellness check with the kids to see how they’re doing, how they’re dealing with this, family issues, school issues, and bully issues. The wellness check-in has been very important especially over the past six months.

The Click: What do you love most about Fiesta-Youth

Luna: I see how it has affected the youth that comes to this organization. Being able to watch a child come to our organization for the first time and their eyes just widen “I’m not the only one,” and they go in, kind of sit back and kind of watch, and then all the kids say, “Hey who you? What’s your name? What do you do? What do you like? ’”All of a sudden, they’re like ‘ah…” [ laughter] . It affects me every time I get to see youth know that they’re not alone, that they’re not different from everybody else, and people like me out there.

And the youth getting to see LGBTQ professionals in this city and what opportunities there are. The kids are saying ‘this is where I want to go, this is my path’ Just being able to open up the opportunities for our youth with some of the programming that we do have, I think, goes a very long way.

For more information, visit http://www.fiesta-youth.org/.

 

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