Mo Banks

By Kirrin Finch
Mo Banks
Mo (they/them) and their partner Jasmine (she/her) are parents to four beautiful kids and the founders of the Instagram account and Podcast “Parenting is Political.” Their family was recently forced to leave their home in Arkansas where the state legislature passed hateful, anti-trans laws that made it unsafe and impossible for their family to live. 

We met Mo through the Family Equality organization’s Night at the Pier gala in NYC, where we also had the honor of dressing them in our Black Georgie Suit. There we caught up with Mo to learn more about their journey and how Family Equality has been involved in keeping their family safe and protected. We were honored to dress Mo in our Black Georgie Suit for the occasion!

Mo Banks Dapper Scout Black Georgie Suit
Tell us a little bit about your family

My wife, Jasmine, and I have four beautiful children. Our oldest daughter just turned 16, our next oldest daughter is 13, our oldest son is 11, and our youngest son is 5! We lived in Arkansas for the past 16 years raising our babies in the Southern Black radical tradition. We love to sing and dance and battle each other in Mario Kart. Jasmine is an amazing cook and I’ve become a pretty darn good baker if I do say so myself. Our kids are creative, funny, and so caring. We are so grateful that we all have each other – it has made weathering the many storms we’ve faced as a family a little bit easier. 

Jasmine and I also run the Instagram page/podcast called Parenting is Political. We started Parenting is Political because we recognize that the problems we face as parents and caregivers of young people are not the result of personal moral failures (which is something that I was taught in my far-right, Christian evangelical upbringing). Rather, the problems we face as parents/caregivers are the product of racial capitalism, patriarchy, and white supremacy. They are problems that honor profit and money over people and the planet. They are problems that promote the supremacy and inherent “goodness” of a certain kind of family while requiring the subjugation of all other families. These political problems we have as parents require that we exercise our collective power to reject extractive systems and norms meant to honor profit over people — and instead we embrace pathways that honor life. 


You recently made the challenging decision to move your family to the Washington, DC area. Can you explain why?

Unfortunately, we were forced to leave Arkansas when the elected officials started passing hateful, anti-trans laws that restricted access to life-saving medical care for our 16 year old trans daughter. Before becoming medical refugees, we organized our fellow Arkansans through our mutual aid collective, Reconcile Arkansas. We were able to raise enough money to help several other families with trans kids relocate to states in which the lawmakers weren’t targeting an already extremely vulnerable population of young people. We also helped orchestrate collecting signatures in hopes of getting a veto referendum placed on the ballot so the people of Arkansas could make plain that these hateful laws did not reflect the complex and diverse population of the Natural State. However, as things began to unfold during the 2022 Midterms, it became clear that Sarah Huckabee Sanders was going to be our next governor and we made an immediate and swift decision to flee the state to get protection elsewhere. We miss Arkansas deeply, and we are thankful to land in a place that has more protection in place for families like ours. 

With over hundreds of bills currently specifically targeting the trans community, it is clear that trans rights are under attack! What is one piece of advice you would give to other family members who are concerned about safety based on these legislative attacks?

I would first say that I’m so sorry that these attacks are even happening in the first place. As a queer and trans community, we don’t deserve to be pawns in political schemes. However, we know this is nothing new. We have a deep history of politicians spewing hateful rhetoric and passing draconian laws that restrict our rights. But that also means we have a deep history of collective resistance, collective power, and collective care. I want other families out there to know that you are not alone. Queer and trans people have been taking care of each other and becoming “chosen family” with our community members in order to weather whatever storms come in our paths for many decades. It’s through community and belonging that we will overcome these attacks. 

 Mo Banks Dapper Scout Georgie Suit Black

In what ways has Family Equality been instrumental in the safety and protection of your family?

Several years ago we were featured on the Outspoken Voices podcast and have stayed in touch with Family Equality ever since! We love the resources that they provide to families and their commitment to advocating for a world where everyone can experience the unconditional love and belonging of family. We had the pleasure of recently meeting Stacey Stevenson and are thrilled that Stacey is prioritizing advancing legal equality for LGBTQ+ families, but not just the white, wealthy LGBTQ+ families that already live in progressive places. We appreciate and support the fact that Stacey is also prioritizing advancing racial and social justice for BIPOC communities, those living in rural areas, and those living at or below the poverty line. 

What are some ways you feel people can support families like yours?

Get registered to vote and show up at the polls! Not just for the presidential elections, but for the local elections too. A lot of these attacks against the queer and trans community are coming from elected officials, on the national level and at the state and municipal level. It’s time to vote them out. We need to continue building enough community support and power that no elected official can successfully run on a platform of hate again! 


Mo Banks Dapper Scout Family

Kirrin Finch is proud to support the work Family Equality is doing to help families like Mo's. Family Equality works to ensure that everyone has the freedom to find, form, and sustain their families by advancing equality for the LGBTQ+ community through advocacy, community, and education.

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