Caitlyn Jenner gave an inspiring and emotional speech as she accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2015 ESPYS.
The award “Recipients reflect the spirit of Arthur Ashe, possessing strength in the face of adversity, courage in the face of peril and the willingness to stand up for their beliefs no matter what the cost.”
Jenner, formerly known as 1976 Olympic decathlon champion Bruce Jenner, received the honor at the ESPN-hosted ceremony at the Microsoft Theater to recognize “the courage to embrace a truth that had been hidden for years.”
Caitlyn was supported by all of her children, Kim Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Khloé Kardashian, Kendall Jenner, Kylie Jenner, Brody Jenner, Brandon Jenner, Burt Jenner and Casey Jenner as well as her mom, Esther Jenner.
Caitlyn Jenner, who donned a Versace gown, broke down as she accepted her Arthur Ashe Award.
Thank you so much, it is so wonderful to be here tonight. Now, the last few months have been a whirlwind of so many different experiences and emotions, but to tell you the truth, it seems like every time I turn around in life, I’m putting myself in these high pressure situations, competing in the games, raising a family. But I’ve never felt more pressure than I ever have in my life than the last couple of months….picking out this outfit. OK girls, I get it. You gotta get the shoes, the hair, the makeup, the whole process. It was exhausting, and next, the fashion police. Please be kind to me, I’m new at this. Anyway…” she said, again showing off her signature goofy humor that fans are more than familiar with. From there, the speech continued, delving into more serious issues.
Well, the real truth is that just before a few months ago, I had never met anybody else who was trans, who was like me. I’d never met a trans person, ever. As you just saw, I dealt with my situation on my own, in private, and that turned this journey into an already incredible education. It’s been eye opening, inspiring, but also frightening. All across this country right now, all across the world at this very moment, there are young people coming to terms with being transgender. They are learning that they’re different and they are trying to figure out how to handle that, on top of every other problem that a teenager has. They’re getting bullied, they’re getting beaten up, they’re getting murdered, and they’re committing suicide.
Jenner then went on to talk about the recent deaths of transgender teens, and how he’d wondered if bringing his issue to the public sooner could have changed the outcomes for those people.
It’s the power of the spotlight…but with attention comes responsibility. As a group, as athletes, how you conduct your lives, what you say, what you do, is absorbed and observed by millions of people, especially young people. I know what my mission is. To tell my story the right way, for me. To keep learning. To do whatever I can to reshape the landscape of how trans people are viewed, how trans people are treated, and more broadly, to promote a very simple idea: accepting people for who they are. Accepting people’s differences. My plea to you tonight is to join me in making this one of your issues as well.
Trans people deserve something vital — they deserve your respect. And from that respect comes a more compassionate community, a more empathetic society, and a better world for all of us.
Watch her full speech below:
The Kardashians and Jenners were very active on Instagram tonight as they posed for a few group family photos.
They all wore black for the shots, with Kylie putting on a black leather jacket for the photos. She had worn a sparkling gold gown on the red carpet.
SQUAD A photo posted by Kendall Jenner (@kendalljenner) on