Former Olympic Champion Caitlyn Jenner has pushed for transgender rights during her emotional acceptance speech of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPY Awards in LA today [July 15]. In her 25-minute speech, she spoke about having never met anybody who was "trans" until a few months ago.
"Now as you saw, I dealt with my situation on my own, in private. It's been eye-opening, inspiring, but also frightening," she said.
She said it was her goal to see others "accepting people for who they are". "Trans people deserve something vital. They deserve your respect," Jenner said. "And from that respect comes a more compassionate community, a more empathetic society and a better world for all of us."
In response to those claims that Jenner has adopted this transition for attention or fame, she stated confidently that naysayers are free to say whatever they like about her because she could handle it. It was the community, and the kids dealing with a struggle similar to hers, that she asked we all respect.
"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 shoudn'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. "While it may not be easy to get past things you don't always understand, I wanna prove that it is absolutely possible if we only do it together."
Jenner was joined by her family, the Kardashian/Jenner clan, including daughters Kendall and Kylie Jenner, step-daughters Kim, Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian and son Brody Jenner.
Jenner, 65, revealed her transition into womanhood last month.
Images: Kevin Winter/Getty Images North America)