Caitlyn Jenner won the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2015 ESPYs July 15. To accept the award, Jenner delivered a powerful, moving and yet simple speech about her journey as a transgender woman and the struggles she has faced having recently come out. Having been very much in the spotlight her whole life as a talented decathlon athlete formerly known as Bruce Jenner, her marriage and then divorce to matriarch of the Kardashians Kris Jenner, Caitlyn has been through a staggering amount in her 65 years.
In one of her first public appearances as Caitlyn, Jenner spoke about how her hard work and training as an Olympic athlete garnered tons of respect and admiration, but that her transformation into the woman she is today was one of the hardest things she’s ever done. She explained that there are transgender kids all over the world who have to endure this struggle every day in realizing they’re different on top of every other problem that teenagers have. “They’re bullied,” said Jenner. “I know I’m clear in my responsibility going forward,” she continued. “To tell my story the right way, for me. To do whatever I can to reshape the landscape of how trans issues are viewed.”
Jenner continued to say that her goals are to bring attention to how trans people are treated and more generally, to deliver a “very simple idea.” “Accepting people for who they are. Accepting people differently.” The audience started to break out into applause as Jenner continued to thank those who have given her support. Her voice started to break as she said, “I am so, so grateful to have all of you in my life. Thank you.” As Jenner wiped away her tears, the audience began to rise in a standing ovation for a wonderfully deserving display of courage. She ended her emotional speech with a powerful, highly truthful line: “Trans people deserve something vital. They deserve your respect.”