History-making school board member shares personal journey

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DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — Alana Banks made history Tuesday as the country’s first black, transgender woman to be elected to a public school board.

A trailblazer for the LGBTQ community, her journey is one of triumph, self discover and achievement. Banks began her transition to womanhood a few years ago.

“I knew that I was more comfortable presenting female than male, and so I asked myself, what’s stopping you? And really it was just societal pressure,” said Banks.

But she said all her life, she felt like she was different.

“Like most of us, we get a pretty good idea of what we’re like when we’re young, so like most people I knew at a very young age,”

That transition allowed her to become her truest self, but that hasn’t always been easy.

“I remember living in my car and that’s where I would take my hormones. I’ll never forget that. That was a very humbling experience.”

Ever since then, she’s made it a point to work tirelessly to create spaces for LGBTQ students.

Although she makes history as the first black, transgender woman to be an elected member of a school board in the entire country, she said her work is only just beginning.

“I think it’s important to just continue the education and outreach. That’s where I plan to start. It takes a community, and I’m really anxious to get started!”

Banks also ran on included prioritizing safe solutions to returning to in-person learning, establishing a permanent alternative e-learning option, and expanding mental health resources for students.

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