Boxer Evander Holyfield claims Caitlyn Jenner is still ‘Bruce’
The transgender activist delivered a powerful speech calling for her fellow sports people to respect trans community yesterday – however, it seems to have been wasted on boxer Evander Holyfield.
Former Olympian, Caitlyn Jenne, received a standing ovation on Wednesday night (July 15) as she walked on stage to accept the Arthur Ashe Courage Award in what was the star’s first major public appearance as a transgender woman.
Speaking on stage at the ESPYS, which honours sports people, she said: “Trans people deserve something vital, they deserve your respect.”
But after the show, former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield said: “I just know that’s Bruce Jenner and I’ll leave it at that.”
Transgender groups have spoken out against the boxer’s comments, saying it is disrespectful not to use the name and pronoun a transgender person prefers.
This isn’t the first time the former heavyweight champion has spoken out against the LGBT community – Holyfield caused controversy on Celebrity Big Brother last year after making a series of homophobic remarks, including: “Being gay ain’t normal.”
However, it seems many other members of the sporting community are more than willing to show their support for the reality TV star.
Little League baseball pitcher Mo’ne Davis, who is just 14, described Caitlyn as “brave to have the courage to get through a lot of those things”, reports BBC Newsbeat.
In addition, Jenner’s mother and famous offspring accompanied her to the event, further showing their support for the star.
Jenner’s step-daughter Kim Kardashian spoke before the event of how her relationship with Caitlyn has changed since her gender transition.
“It’s a different one. We’re definitely closer and I understand her a bit better, and her struggle.”
“I respect all of her decisions, and I think it’s great that she can be so honest and brave and be who she wants to be.”
Of her family, Caitlyn said: “I’m so, so grateful to have all of you in my life. Thank you.”
She also acknowledged trans forerunners, including Renee Richards, Chaz Bono and Laverne Cox and praised transgender athletes and military personnel.
However, Holyfield is not the only person to express confusion or disdain for Jenner, or ESPYs decision to give the star an award.
Yesterday, American hip hop star Lil Scrappy launched a scathing attack on both Jenner and the transgender community, advising that she should ‘stick to what you were made to be’.
In the video, he also argues that if Jenner had been a black, she would not have gotten the same kind of overwhelming acceptance the star has received.
Earlier this week, an outspoken American evangelical Christian, Franklin Graham, also criticised Jenner, saying he finds the recent recognition she has received as “hard to swallow”.
He also said that Jenner is a “very confused” person and that proclaiming her as a “hero” to the world is wrong.