Caitlyn Jenner accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYS last night and urged acceptance for others who are transgender. She got a standing O from the sporting world’s biggest stars after her 10-minute speech. Abby Wambach of the U.S. soccer team presented the award to Jenner. The award handoff between two famed gold medalists, according to ESPN “is significant for the LGBT movement.” Jenner’s voice broke as she thanked members of her family, including stepdaughters Kim and Khloe Kardashian. Tears welled in the eyes of Jenner’s younger daughters Kylie and Kendall;
“This transition has been harder on me than anything I can imagine.”
Noting her celebrity platform the 1976 Olympic decathlon winner, vowed to…
“do whatever I can to reshape the landscape of how transgender people are viewed and treated. I never wanted to hurt anyone else, most of all my family and my kids.”
Jenner said that until earlier this year, she had never met another transgender person and told the audience about transgender teenagers who are bullied, beaten up or murdered or who commit suicide. I guess it’s not surprising, but many in the crowd watched intently with very little reaction on their faces.
“Trans people deserve something vital; they deserve your respect. From that respect comes a more compassionate community.”
Jenner urged the crowd to remember that what they say and do is “absorbed and observed by millions of people, especially young people.
My plea for you tonight is … join me in making this one of your issues as well.
If you want to call me names, make jokes and doubt my intentions, go ahead, because the reality is I can take it. But for thousands of kids out there coming to terms with the reality of who they are, they shouldn’t have to take it.”
A video narrated by Jon Hamm chronicled Jenner’s life. With her trembling, Jenner joked about her struggle to select the cream gown she wore.
“OK, girls, I get it. You’ve got to get the shoes, the hair, the makeup; it was exhausting. And the fashion police, please be kind on me. I’m new at this.”
Jenner didn’t walk the red carpet outside the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles, and didn’t appear backstage to talk with reporters. ESPN said that Jenner wanted her onstage comments to stand. Reaction among Jenner’s sporting peers on the red carpet was somewhat mixed. Little League baseball pitcher Mo’ne Davis called Jenner brave. Davis, 14, who won for Best Breakthrough Performance.
“She’s really brave to have the courage to get through a lot of those things. I know a lot of people give her a hard time about it, but just for her family to give her that support is amazing.”
But former heavyweight champion and current jackass, Evander Holyfield said;
“I just know that’s Bruce Jenner, and I’ll leave it at that.”
The Ashe award is named for the late tennis player, who died in 1993 after contracting AIDS from a blood transfusion. ESPYs executive producer Maura Mandt said when it was announced Jenner would receive the Arthur Ashe award;
“Bruce has received many accolades over the years for being one of the greatest Olympians of our time, but The ESPYS are honored to celebrate Bruce becoming Caitlyn. She has shown the courage to embrace a truth that had been hidden for years, and to embark on a journey that may not only give comfort to those facing similar circumstances, but can also help to educate people on the challenges that the transgender community faces.”
Reaction on Twitter was mostly positive, but I’m sure there are trolls and haters out there too. Kourtney posted this pic of the family support backstage. Caityln’s full speech is below and get out your handkerchiefs… it’s moving –and as much as those pictures of Pluto yesterday, it will go down as a milestone for humanity in the 21st century. Watch.
(via ABC News)