MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) — A Murfreesboro teenager is the winner of a national LGBTQ literature contest.
Zee Taylor, 16, wrote an encouraging letter to her younger self about growing up as a queer kid.
"Dear young queer who felt much too drawn to her best friend and her smile, you are loved no matter what others may say," Zee Taylor wrote in her essay.
Taylor is an incoming junior at Siegel High School.
She entered the Hope In A Box / Born This Way Foundation contest in May after seeing a post on Instagram.
"I clicked on it and I started writing and I submitted it that same day," Zee Taylor said. "I'm generally pretty ready to write about myself, not to sound narcissistic, but I have those thoughts in my head all the time anyways."
More than 70 students around the country in grades K-12 submitted an essay or video about how LGBTQ-inclusive literature has shaped them. She wrote about The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Symptoms of Being Human, and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.
"Those books really hit home growing up, especially because I read them at really interesting points of my life," she said.
In her letter to her younger self, Taylor talks about the lessons she learned from her favorite books and stories.
"If only I could tell you what Cameron Post will teach you in a few years, when bad things happen, it does not mean the end," Taylor wrote.
For winning the contest, Taylor received a $500 cash prize and her essay is featured on ChannelKindness.org.