Luna’s voice influences LGBT funding


Stephanie Matsumoto

Junior Marco Luna advertises Gay-Straight Alliance Club by sporting a rainbow flag around his shoulders during club rush 2016. He encouraged students to support by buying different flavored Italian sodas to represent the colors of the rainbow.

Every high school movie in the last several decades has promoted the idea of groups. Labels that can help people easily identify a person. Jocks, cheerleaders, nerds, goths, music geeks, and gays.


In the 20th century, hearing this term was an unpleasant usually derogatory. But as society hurried into the 21st century, this label has been tossed out. Now we hear and read the acronym LGBT on every news outlet and social media site.
For one student, though, LGBT is much more than just an acronym.

Junior Marco Luna’s freshman year wasn’t a simple walk in the quad. On the outside, he was the hetero boyfriend that every girl seemed to like. A guy’s guy. But on the inside was someone completely different. Deep down was the gay guy that longed to come out.

The obstacles Luna faced weren’t the closet but his “mask.”

“I felt like I was lying to everyone and especially myself,” he said. Being the son of two Mexican, Catholic parents was tough.

“They told me the usual thing,” the junior said. “That it’s a phase.”

The constant lying and reassuring was the worst part Luna said. He didn’t worry about what other people might say because “nobody else could be more cruel than myself,” he said. There were always the inescapable thoughts. Suicide. Self-degradation. Doubt.

“But it was all for nothing,” Luna said through a laugh. He remembers the relief he felt when he saw how accepting his friends were. Even the people he lost contact with still showed him respect that everyone person deserves as a human being.

So when the school started the Gay-Straight Alliance club, “I knew I had to be there,” the junior said.

The slippery slope that comes with LGBT clubs is the different types. Some clubs are gays-only clubs or strong advocate club, creating a negative stigma that pushes students away from joining. This was the problem that adviser Susan Diohep wanted to avoid when creating the club.

Diohep said she wanted to create a warm, welcoming feeling while “doing something I believe in.” She talked about how students are supposed to “find themselves” in high school and how harassment from others hinders that. Both Diohep and Luna agreed on the message of GSA: to be an alliance, a place for everyone to come together and feel safe.

In April, Luna, along with Diohep and fellow member Julia Rosete, took an opportunity to aid GSAs across Stockton Unified School District.

The three represented the LGBT subgroup at SUSD’s Local Control and Accountability Plan meeting which helps determine some of the funding for the district. Here, they brought to light the struggles of LGBT students that have been left unacknowledged for majority of the new century.

As a result, the district allocated $100,000 for LGBT-related programs. The new funds could be used for teacher training, a counselor, and any LGBT related support.

And Luna couldn’t be happier. “I’m making a difference,” he said.

“Not only will this help me and my club, but other LGBT students in the district.”