Last night Caitlyn Jenner proved yet again what a powerful role model she is as she spoke at the ESPY Awards. She was there to accept the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. Wearing Versace, Jenner took to the stage to talk about her new life since she transitioned gender and became one of the most high-profile trans celebrities in the world.
“It seems like every time I turn around in life I’m putting myself in high-pressure situations,” the 65-year-old said, before joking about the pressure of choosing red carpet gowns. However, things got serious when she started talking about the discrimination trans people face in today’s world, such as bullying, suicide and murder. (The murder rate of trans people in the US increased 13% from 2014.)
There were many standout moments in the speech, which you can watch below, but the following quote really sums up the personal and political message Caitlyn was preaching:
“This transition has been harder on me than anything I could have imagined. And that’s the case for so many others besides me… 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.”
Caitlyn Jenner referenced the deaths of trans teens Mercedes Williamson and Sam Taub, who were murdered and committed suicide respectively, as two examples of why a societal shift is needed in regards to the acceptance and support of trans people. She thanked her family (“You have given me so much support. I am so, so grateful to have all of you in my life.”) and other high-profile trans celebrities. However, when Caitlyn talked about her own journey, that’s when the tears really wouldn’t stop.
“I know I’m clear with my responsibility in going forward. To tell my story the right way, for me to keep learning, to do whatever I can to reshape the landscape of how trans issues are viewed and how trans people are treated. And then more broadly, to promote a very simple idea: accepting people for who they are. “
Have a watch, and try and tell us this woman isn’t deserving of your utmost respect and admiration.