In preschool, I had a friend named Andy. He was a little different than the other kids in my class because he had autism. However, I still enjoyed playing with him. One day, he gave the whole class invitations to his birthday party. I was excited to go!

On the day of his party, I showed up, but none of our other classmates were there. Despite the turnout, he and I had a lot of fun playing party games together. If I had not accepted Andy for who he is, I would not have had that opportunity.

Ever since I was born, my family has been a little different. I was raised by a teenage mom and my lesbian grandparents. I have six siblings. All of my siblings are half-siblings. One of my brothers is mixed.

I have a cousin who is transgender. He used to be called Isabella, but now he is called Ashton. My life has been changed immensely by all of the people I have mentioned so far. If I did not open my heart to people who are different than me, I would have missed out on many experiences.

Due to my diverse upbringing, I believe in acceptance. I believe that I should treat others the way I would like to be treated. I think that every single person on this planet deserves to be loved. I have straight friends, gay friends, bisexual friends, transgender friends, friends of different ethnic background, Christian friends, and atheist friends. I love them all equally. Each of my friends loves and support me.

My belief in acceptance has helped me to be a better leader. I was the assistant captain of my high school's color guard team for two years and the head captain for one year. I had members who were all from very different backgrounds, but I was able to connect with all of them.

I believe that because I was accepting of all of them, they were able to open up to me. They trusted me enough to ask for my advice. Having the opportunity to be a good captain changed my life. Without my accepting nature, I may not have done as well in that position.

Acceptance has been an essential part of my life since I was born. It has led me to incredible friendships. Acceptance has allowed me to make lasting memories with people who care deeply about me. It is a massive part of who I am.

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