A tearful Caitlyn Jenner was honored with the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the ESPYs, speaking to a room full of fellow accomplished athletes. Jenner, of course, won a gold medal for the decathlon in the 1976 Olympics when she was still known as Bruce Jenner.
After a moving segment about Jenner's coming out that included interview with her family members and her mother, U.S. Women's National Soccer Team member Abby Wambach welcomed Jenner to the stage. Jenner's speech heavily focused on transgender rights.
“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 it’s fortunate,” Caitlyn said during the speech. “If you want to call me names, make jokes, doubt my intentions, go ahead. I can take it. But the reality is for the thousands of kids out there coming to terms with 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 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.”
The 65-year-old honoree received a standing ovation as she made her first major public appearance at the awards show.
Caitlyn Jenner first came out as a trans woman in April in a sit-down interview with Sawyer. She continued to make waves by appearing as a woman on the cover of Vanity Fair in June, debuting her new look and name.