Caitlyn Jenner ESPY Speech Sends People To Tears

Posted on July 16th, 2015 at 4:01 pm
True Caitlyn Jenner ESPY SpeechThe former Olympian and now LGBTQ icon Caitlyn Jenner was awarded the Arthur Ashe Courage ESPY on Wednesday, July 15, at the annual ESPY Awards, hosted by ESPN. After having struggled with her gender identity for much of her life, including her Olympic years, she accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, presented to individuals whose contributions “transcend sports.” Arthur Ashe was an American professional tennis player, having been ranked number one in the world in 1968 and 1975 and winning three Grand Slam titles in the process. He was the first African American to represent the United States in the Davis Cup and is the only black man ever to win singles at the US Open, the Australian Open, and Wimbledon. After his retirement Ashe contracted HIV and began to put his efforts into public education about HIV and AIDS. He worked with and founded many organizations to combat the AIDS epidemic, including the Arthur Ashe Foundation for the Defeat of AIDS, before he died from pneumonia in 1993, less than a year after he publicly announced his illness. Caitlyn Jenner, formerly Bruce Jenner, talked about her gender struggle and the difficulty she had accepting who she was while she was the reigning 1976 Olympic decathlon champion. In her interview with Diane Sawyer, she mentioned how winning the decathlon in 1976 made her the “epitome of masculinity” and how she had often played sports to fit in with the rest of the guys. She started hormone treatment in the ‘80s but ultimately gave it up, unsure of whether her family would approve or not. At the awards she called the world to give trans people the same respect that should be afforded anyone who works hard in becoming who they want to be. She said, “[T]his transition has been harder on me than anything I could imagine. And that’s the case for so many others besides me. For that reason alone, trans people deserve something vital. They deserve your respect. And from that respect comes a more compassionate community, a more empathetic society and a better world for all of us.”