Caitlyn Jenner received this year’s Arthur Ashe Courage Award and crushed the ESPY’s last night with her speech.
In front of a room filled with the country’s most talented athletes, Jenner discussed the harsh realities of what trans people face in today’s society, mentioning Mercedes Williamson, a 17-year-old trans teen girl who was found murdered in Mississippi last month, and Sam Taub, a trans teen boy who killed himself in April.
But it was her final two minutes on stage that really hit hard:
You know, it is an honor 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 the full speech below.