I consider myself to be an accidental activist. Although I’ve never made a conscious effort to be someone who causes change in society or other’s ways of thinking or acting, I have found that I’ve always had a great deal of influence on those around me. From a young age I was always very interested in the welfare of animals. My mom has told me about how when I was very young, maybe five or six, during thanksgiving season she would take my older brother and me on grocery shopping trips and my brother and I would picket the frozen meats section toting home-made posters and chanting “Don’t eat the turkeys!”. My mom recently found one of these posters tucked away in the basement depicting a horde of crayon-drawn turkeys with crosses over their eyes and a gravestone marked “R.I.P. 2 million turkeys”. A few years later when I was 8 I became vegetarian and then went strictly vegan when I was in 10th grade. While I grade school I volunteered at animal sanctuaries and have adopted multiple cats from my local animal shelter. My belief that animals are no less important than any other living being has always driven me to help bring equality to those who cannot speak for themselves, no matter how seemingly small my contributions may be. Over my years of being meat and by-product free I have helped many people become more informed about animal cruelty and what they can do to help diminish these cruelties by simply removing certain items from their diet. Another way I consider myself to be an “accidental activist” is by encouraging other girls to be more comfortable with their sexualities. It has always bothered me that it is considered acceptable for men to sleep with many partners, discuss their sex lives with their friends, masturbate, and generally be openly sexual beings while women are expected to be with one partner forever, abstain from any sexual conversation openly, and generally keep their legs shut except for making babies. I have always been extremely open about my sex life and my interest in human sexuality. I never considered my often crude and explicit conversation topics to be “activism” until my friends started telling me how much more comfortable they felt about sex because of how I’ve made it an interesting discussion for them instead of a taboo topic that should be avoided at all costs. It always shocked me at how little many girls know about their own bodies and sex in general and I’ve been told by friends that I’ve “inspired” them to be more open and comfortable with their sexualities. Even though this was never my intention to start a sexual revolution amongst my friends, I feel a certain pride in having been able to even slightly level out the sexual playing field. By informing my peers about topics that I consider important such as animal equality and sexual health, I do my part to help bring change to much-needed areas.