Caitlyn Jenner received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Awards (ESPYs) on Wednesday night, and we should warn you: her acceptance speech is guaranteed to give you all the feels.
Jenner, the former Olympic decathlon champion who recently underwent gender reassignment surgery, got a standing ovation from the room both before and after her eloquent, wide-ranging acceptance speech, which touched on her life's achievements as a sportsperson, the struggle of trans people all over the world, and her gratitude for the support of her family.
Mentioning the recent murder of one transgender teenager and the suicide of another, Jenner said it was her responsibility to "whatever I can to reshape the landscape of how trans issues are viewed, how trans people are treated, and then more broadly, to promote a very simple idea: accepting people for who they are, accepting people’s differences".
Jenner wrapped her up her speech with this moving conclusion:
You know, it is an honour to have the word 'courage' associated with my life, but on this night another word comes to mind, and that is 'fortunate'. I owe a lot to sports. It’s showed me the world. It’s given me an identity. If someone wanted to bully me, well you know what, I was the MVP of the football team - that just wasn’t going to be a problem. And the same goes tonight. If you want to call me names, make jokes, doubt my intentions, go ahead. Because the reality is, I can take it. But for the thousands of kids out there coming to terms with being true to who they are, they shouldn’t have to take it.
So for the people out there wondering what this is all about, whether it’s about courage or controversy or publicity, well, I’ll tell you what it’s all about: 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. And while it may not easy to get past the things you [don’t always] understand, I want to prove that it is absolutely possible if we only do it together.
Watch Jenner's 10-minute acceptance speech in full below: