Proud to Shine: Taley Banks
'[My mom] hugged me and held me and said that she still loves me,' says Banks
Taley Banks can often be found hidden behind a book or scribbling poetry on to a notepad. The 16-year-old is using her creative skills to advocate for others in the LGBTQ+ community.
When Banks was about 14, she was scared to tell her family that she "had an attraction for other girls," in fear of being judged.
But there was nothing but tenderness and endearment from her parents.
"[My mom] hugged me and held me and said that she still loves me," said Banks.
Banks realized that not all of the teenagers in her community were as accepted as she had been, and she started to craft poetry around that.
Here is the letter Banks sent to CBC Windsor as part of the Proud to Shine campaign:
"I had first realized I was attracted to other girls when I was twelve-years-old. I was scared. Scared of this attraction. Scared of what my family might think. Scared of what my family might do. I was so scared of how I felt about other girls that I wouldn't even tell my closest friends. Time skip a few years afterwards, and I'm coming out to my mom. Slightly afraid she might respond negatively, I confess my attraction to other girls to my mom. And she doesn't glare. She doesn't yell. She doesn't pack my bags. She tells me it's OK and reassures me that she'd always loved me. Now, I'm sixteen and my dad, grandma and aunt know. And even though there's still a fear they'll judge me that's present, I know they won't. I know I'm not lucky as other youth. And the discrimination and hate crimes against LGBT+ individuals is why I continue my activism."
Banks has also written a 13-page book that is being sold on Amazon called The Deserted Kids, which is written about a gay teenager who is trying to overcome hardships surrounding her sexual orientation.
Advocating for the LGBTQ+ community is important to her.
"I want people to know about me, that I was once scared like you," said Banks.
"I got over that fear and you can to and not everyone is going to judge you. Just be yourself."