When it was announced that Caitlyn Jenner would be receiving the prestigious Arthur Ashe Award For Courage at the ESPYS, we couldn't help but wonder what message the Olympic legend, 65, would be sending into the world with her speech.
Clad in a classic white gown, Caitlyn finally took the stage tonight (July 15) to deliver an inspiring message of hope.
Caitlyn started her speech with a light-hearted admission. “Every time I turn around in life, I’m putting myself in these high pressure situations," she said. "Competing in the Games, raising a family. But I’ve never felt more pressure than I’ve ever felt in my life than in the last couple of months. Picking out this outfit. Okay, girls -- I get it!"
Soon, she touched upon some very serious topics, addressing them with total eloquence. "All across this country, right now, all across the world, at this very moment, there are young people coming to terms with being transgender. They’re learning that they’re different, and they’re trying to figure out how to handle that, on top of every other problem that a teenager has. They’re getting bullied. They’re getting beaten up. They’re getting murdered. And they’re committing suicide."
"Trans people deserve something vital," Caitlyn emphasized. "They deserve your respect."
Caitlyn also referenced the deaths of transgender teens Mercedes Williamson, who was murdered, and Sam Taub, who committed suicide, in her speech. “If you want to call me names, make jokes, doubt my intentions, go ahead, because the reality is, I can take it,” she said. “But for the thousands of kids out there coming to terms with who they are, they shouldn’t have to take it.”
Caitlyn thanked her family (with a very special shout-out to her mom), the sports community, and supporters like Diane Sawyer, stating that her message of courage "is about all of us." As Caitlyn said, her hope is “to promote a very simple idea: accepting people for who they are."
And, if Twitter is any indication, it seems Caitlyn's positive messages are spreading already.
Hey, guess what!! The ESPYS are for sports!!! Caitlyn Jenner is an Olympic Athlete who showed courage in a hateful world!! She is brave!!!— Megan (@Megannnotes) July 16, 2015
For more information about transgender rights and how you can fight bias, visit MTV’s Look Different.