This morning I watched Logic’s 1-800-273-8255 video and it got me thinking about what makes someone brave.

Is it someone that serves the military?
Is it your boss? Your CEO? What about your parents? Are they it?
Is it someone that saves someone from a burning building?
No, maybe it’s more than that.

We live in a society where being gay, lesbian, bi, trans, or queer isn’t always acceptable. Yet in the face of what everyone else says, we still hold true to who we are, who we love, and what gender we identify as. When you really dig deep, it doesn’t start with them, it doesn’t start with what they have to say or how they feel, it starts at home. It starts with our parents, siblings, cousins, aunts, and friends. Home is what builds us, it’s our foundation.

I was in 5th or 6th grade when I realized I wanted to be one of the boys. My grandma, who was old school in the ways that most grandparents are, couldn’t accept that I didn’t want to cater to the boys. She would tell me I needed to learn to cook, clean, and make sure food was ready when the men of the house got home. At that moment, I thought to myself “No way am I doing that, but then again, no way am I telling her I don’t like boys”.

So, I brushed it all off.

I knew in 8th grade that I liked women. I was that little girl at the front of the room who couldn’t stop staring at the cute teacher. It was a whoa moment—is this possible? Is this ok? What will my parents think? What about my grandma?

The next year I hid myself. I bottled up all my feelings. I didn’t have anybody to lean on because it wasn’t “normal” to be a lesbian. I was terrified. I didn’t understand how I could live life this way or if I even wanted to. But then home taught me something, seven powerful words changed my entire life, and could change someone else’s.

“I will love you no matter what”

Those are the words that my grandma said to me before she left this earth. It was like she already knew without me telling her.

The next 12 years weren’t easy. There were a lot of ups and downs, but those seven words stuck with me and have gotten me to where I am today. I am a transgender man. I am a man.

To me bravery is accepting who you are. It’s braving all of the hate in the world and knowing that you have friends and family who listen, accept, and stand by you, even when the world doesn’t.

All it took was seven words to make me brave. It took seven words to change my life forever.