Caitlyn Jenner has started to make good on her promise to bring transgender issue to light, as she appealed for transgender acceptance at an award’s ceremony.
This was especially powerful, as this was actually Caitlyn’s first public appearance since coming out as a transgender woman. She took to the stage to accept the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage, which was awarded during a ceremony by ESPN.
Caitlyn, who received a standing ovation for her speech, had this to say: “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.”
She then urged the attendees to the award ceremony, which consisted of an audience of sports stars, to lead by example with both their words and actions.
“Whether it’s about courage, or controversy or publicity, 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.”
She also paid tribute to a young transgender boy, Sam Taub, who sadly committed suicide at just 15, as well as 17 year old Mercedes Williamson, a transgender woman who was found stabbed to death in Mississippi.
“I also want to tell you about Sam Taub, a 15-year-old transgender young man from Bloomfield, Michigan. In early April, Sam took his own life. Now, Sam’s story haunts me in particular because his death came just a few days before ABC aired my interview with Diane Sawyer. Every time something like this happens, people wonder, ‘Could it have been different, if spotlighting this issue with more attention could have changed the way things happen?’ We’ll never know.”
Despite the standing ovation from other attendees at the awards ceremony, not everyone was so positive about it. Boxer Evander Holyfield had this to say: “I just know that’s Bruce Jenner and I’ll leave it at that.”
You can watch her full speech below.