After introducing herself to the world via an exclusive interview and photoshoot with Vanity Fair back in June, Caitlyn Jenner received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYS last night (July 15) and collected it from U.S. soccer player Abby Wambach with a heartfelt, passionate speech that received a standing ovation from those before her. During her ten minutes on stage she said:
"This transition has been harder on me than anything I can imagine."
She also thanked Diane Sawyer, with whom she did her first interview prior to Caitlyn's introduction to the world, and members of her family.
As Kendall Jenner listened, wiping a tear from her eye, she went on, vowing:
"...to do whatever I can to reshape the landscape of how transgender people are viewed and treated."
She made a point of mentioning how transgender individuals, notably teenagers, are beaten up and murdered by those who don't and can't accept them for who they are, adding that some even commit suicide, so difficult are their lives made by others.
With undeniable passion, she said:
"Trans people deserve something vital; they deserve your respect. From that respect comes a more compassionate community."
She pleaded with her audience, asking just one thing of them:
"...join me in making this one of your issues, as well."
She went on to insist that she could take whatever comments were thrown at her, but added firmly:
"For thousands of kids out there coming to terms with the reality of who they are, they shouldn't have to take it."
A short video showed a montage of Jenner's life, from being Bruce to becoming Caitlyn. The mention of considering suicide was particularly hard-hitting, but the clip did get a few laughs as she was shown applying makeup and getting ready, commenting:
"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's openness has been widely received positively by people all over the world, and her speech last night proved once again that she is a great spokeswoman for a generation of people who are struggling to accept who they are and to have society be okay with it.
Have a look at Caitlyn's powerful acceptance speech and let us know what you think.