My name is “Luna,” I’m 24 years old and I’ve already been through a lot and done a lot. Family rejection. Incarceration. Foster care. Escorting. The streets. Homelessness. I just learned I tested positive. Yet I am still proud.
I am the definition of Pride. It’s what gets me through life. My motivation, my rock, my soul. Without Pride, we have nothing to stand for, we give up, and we lose hope. Even though I am in the middle of many struggles, I won’t let go of my dedication to improving my life and feeling pride for who I am, even when others do not.
I came out when I was sixteen and life became a blur after that. I felt alone and pushed into the world by myself – there was no blueprint for me to follow. My journey has made me stronger and taught me how to survive and what it means to have faith.
Pride is being fully accepted for who I am. There have been people who have come into my life and saw how hopeful I was, but sought to take away the light in my eyes. I’ve been tempted to give up. When you are surrounded by darkness, what’s the point of moving forward? I’ve had many turning points, but when I found out I was positive, I rededicated myself to never allowing anybody to destroy my life again.
I have to let go of my past and start anew. I have to forgive my family. I have to forgive those who have harmed me. I have to forgive life and God for what I’ve been through. I have to forgive myself. And I am. But I have questions that are constantly running through my mind.
Will I ever be loved?
Will I have children?
Will I be accepted for who I am?
Without Pride, the answer would be no. But with the pride, love, and passion I have for myself, I know I can live the life I deserve.
Young people like me need to be surrounded by simple people who are kind hearted, open minded, confident, and full of life. I’m finding people like that now, and change is coming. I’m at Jovenes, Inc., a shelter for young men in Boyle Heights, and I’m moving forward. I have a job and a plan. I can see a positive future, and I want to inspire other youth to have pride in who they are. My story is not finished, but I will continue to overcome.