Caitlyn Jenner Delivers Moving Speech Accepting Arthur Ashe Award At 2015 ESPYs
Caitlyn Jenner received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2015 ESPYs Sunday night, and used her platform up on stage to advocate for the transgender community.
Caitlyn Jenner At The ESPYs
Jenner, the 1976 Olympic decathlon champion, had suffered from gender dysmorphia from an early age. It was something that she suppressed throughout her life as Bruce, which included the gold medal performance in the Olympic Games. Following that success, Jenner was thrust into the spotlight as an American hero, and she was thrust into the spotlight again on Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Being a fixture in the spotlight is a reality that Jenner intends to use for good after bravely choosing to transition.
“If there’s one thing I do know, it is the power of the spotlight. Sometimes it gets overwhelming,” Jenner said at the top of her speech after she was introduced by U.S. women’s soccer team captain Abby Wambach. “But with attention comes responsibility, as a group, as athletes, how you conduct your lives, what you say and what you do is absorbed by millions of people, especially young people.”
Jenner went on to accept her responsibility as a former athlete and a trans icon to share frightening statistics about the transgender community, including its bullying, assault and suicide rates. By name, she mentioned transgender teens Mercedes Williamson and Sam Taub; Williamson was stabbed to death, while Taub took his own life.
“Trans people deserve something vital. They deserve your respect,” said Jenner in a call to action. “From that respect comes a more compassionate community, a more empathetic society and a better world for all of us.”
Jenner went on to thank transgender celebrities who’ve paved the way for her, including Laverne Cox and Chaz Bono. She also thanked Diane Sawyer, who helped her tell her story earlier this year. Jenner, a parent to 10 children, offered her graititude to them through tears for all of their support. She also saved a special shoutout to her mother Esther Jenner, who had accompanied her to the ESPYs.
“So for the people out there wondering what this is all about, whether its about courage or controversy or publicity; it’s about what happens from here,”Jenner said towards the end of her speech. “It’s not just about one person. It’s about thousands of people. It’s not just about me. It’s about all of us accepting one another. We’re all different. It’s not a bad thing. It’s a good thing.”
Jenner, who declined to walk the red carpet, in addition to her mother, had nine of her 10 children in the audience as well. Her biological children Kendall, Kylie, Brody, Brandon, Burt, and Casey Jenner were present, in addition to her step-children Kim, Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian.