Caitlyn Jenner accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs on Wednesday night while urging acceptance for others who are transgender.
“Trans people deserve something vital, they deserve your respect,” Jenner said. “From that respect comes a more compassionate community.”
She received a standing ovation from some of the sporting world’s biggest stars after her 10-minute speech during the annual awards honoring the year’s top athletes and moments.
The 1976 Olympic decathlon champion vowed “to do whatever I can to reshape the landscape of how transgender people are viewed and treated.”
“I never wanted to hurt anyone else, most of all my family and my kids,” said Jenner, who admitted that until earlier this year she had never met another transgender person.
She told the audience about trans teenagers who are bullied, beaten up, murdered or kill themselves. She mentioned two people by name whose deaths particularly touched her.
“Trans people deserve something vital, they deserve your respect,” she said. “From that respect comes a more compassionate community.”
Jenner urged the crowd that included football, basketball, baseball and hockey players to remember what they say and do is “absorbed and observed by millions of people, especially young people.”
“My plea for you tonight is one join me in making this one of your issues as well,” she said.