Moments after Devon Still delivered a tremendously powerful speech at the 2015 ESPY Awards on Wednesday, Caitlyn Jenner followed with one of her own.
Jenner, making her first public appearance since coming out as a transgender woman earlier this year, was awarded the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. U.S. women’s national soccer team captain Abby Wambach presented the award.
Article continues below ...
In her acceptance speech, Jenner, who won the gold medal in the decathlon at the 1976 Summer Olympics, said she hopes her coming out will help promote awareness and acceptance of the transgender community.
“Trans people deserve something vital,” Jenner said. “They deserve your respect. And from that respect comes a more passionate community, a more empathetic society and a better world for all of us.”
Jenner added that while “it is an honor to have the word ‘courage’ associated with my life,” she considers herself something else, as well: fortunate.
“If you want to call me names, make jokes, go ahead, because the reality is, I can take it,” she said. “But for the kids coming to terms with who they are, they shouldn’t have to take it. It’s about what happens from here, 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. That’s not a bad thing. That’s a good thing.”