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Forget the haters.

As a millennial woman I can’t think of two, more perfect role models–Ginny Thrasher and Corey Cogdell-Unrein. Why? Because I am a minority. No, not the skin color thing. I already discussed that. Because as a woman, I choose to protect myself with a firearm. And women like Thrasher and Unrein make me more confident in embracing that.

Ginny Thrasher and Corey Cogdell-Unrein, both medaled in the Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil this last week. Ginny Thrasher beat Chinese Olympic Veterans, Du Li and Yi Siling in the women’s 10-meter air rifle. She beat Du Li by just one point, to take home America’s very first Olympic Gold medal.

Corey Cogdell-Unrein took home a bronze medal in the women’s trap competition. Her first bronze win was in the 2008 Bejing Olympic games.

Ginny Thrasher is a 19 year old, engineering student at West Virginia University. She only started the sport, 5 years ago. Her shooting sports journey began during a hunting trip with her grandfather, father and two brothers. Thrasher realized that she had a new passion after shooting a deer dead on her first try.

Corey Cogdell-Unrein is a 29 year old Olympian Veteran, married to Chicago Bears Defensive End, Mitch Unrein. Unlike Ginny, Corey, began hunting with her father at three years old. She currently lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado but grew up in Eagle River, Alaska.

Both, millennial women. Both badasses. Both role models for women like me.

Ginny and Corey’s backgrounds both convey a reality that I hear often with women who are into firearms today. They learned it from their fathers.

I didn’t grow up with a father. But, I did date someone whose father took me under his wing and introduced me to hunting.

My first gun was not a handgun. It was a Remington 870 express shotgun.

Hold up femini Nazis! I am not saying that women are just not capable of growing an interest in guns or gun ownership unless they have a man in their life.

What I am saying is, that these women, these Olympic Athletes, at the top of their sport, only started a few years ago.

You know what also started a few years ago? A dramatic increase in women becoming gun owners.

Not all of them have fathers. Not all of them even hope to Olympians one day. But they all have a intrinsic sense that they feel empowered by owning a firearm. That their right to self-defense is not off putting or abnormal.

Women like Ginny and Corey help reclaim the narrative around gun owners. One, they are incredibly composed, gorgeous and smart (did I already tell you that Ginny is an engineering major?) and two, they are excellent in their craft.

The demographics are changing. And unlike critics, that have bashed them for embracing this sport, for being some of  our very first medalists in the Rio Games, I will celebrate them.

As a black, millennial woman, I will celebrate them because they encourage me to keep training.

Female gun owners everywhere can look up to these two fellow Americans and know that they too can embrace their decision to carry, to get involved with shooting sports or to simply accept that open invitation to Ladies Night at the local gun range.