Caitlyn Jenner makes emotional plea during ESPY speech: ‘Trans people deserve respect’
The transgender activist delivered the powerful speech during the ESPY Awards, as she accepted an award honouring her courage and achievements during her long and successful career.
The former Olympian, 65, 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.
Caitlyn began the speech with humour, as she joked about the immense pressure she has been in to look her best since her infamous Vanity Fair cover shoot.
“Picking out this outfit,” she joked.
“OK, girls, I get it. You’ve got to get the shoes, the hair, the makeup, the whole process. It was exhausting.”
However, the speech soon took a more serious turn, as the reality TV star said that until just a few months ago, she had never even met another transgender person.
“I dealt with my situation on my own in private and that turned this journey into an already incredible education,” she said.
“It’s been eye-opening, inspiring, but also frightening.”
Jenner went on to highlight how difficult life is for transgender youths in particular, paying tribute to those who have lost their lives due to the discrimination they receive.
“All across this country, right now, all across the world, at this very moment, there are young people coming to terms with being transgender,” she said.
“They’re getting bullied, they’re getting beaten up, they’re getting murdered and they’re committing suicide.”
Jenner said her own transition had “been harder on me than anything I could ever imagine.”
“For that reason alone, trans people deserve something vital,” she said.
“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.”
She also thanked her family, many of whom were in attendance.
“The biggest fear in Caitlyn Jenner coming out was I never wanted to hurt anyone else, most of all my family and my kids,” Caitlyn said of the long-time struggle over her gender.
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“I’m so, so grateful to have all of you in my life. Thank you,” she said wiping away tears, as her voice broke.
Jenner accepted the award as it was revealed that Apple’s personal voice assistant Siri is refusing to use the reality star’s former name.
Asking Siri about her former name generates the response: “Caitlyn Jenner’s full name is Caitlyn Jenner.”
Similarly, using her former name asking how tall she is or how many children she has will lead to the voice assistant correcting you.
Watch her speech in full below: