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Sports fans everywhere were tuned into the ESPY Awards as Caitlyn Jenner gave a tearful speech after accepting the Arthur Ashe Courage award. With her recent emergence as Caitlyn, many fans have flocked to her side, supporting her transgendered journey. Gracing the stage in a beautiful, white, floor-length Versace gown and side swoop hairdo, Jenner gave a speech that not only touched the hearts of her family, but of Americans everywhere who fight for equal rights.
Thousands of people, for whatever reason, never seemed to take Jenner seriously. They assumed that her transformation was a ploy to stay relevant. After all, the gold medal win was how many decades ago? Who in the millennium even knows who Bruce Jenner is; outside of being the Kardashian stepfather? Yet and still, it is ludicrous to think that one would change genders, simply, to stay in the spotlight. Although Jenner has not been the first transgendered celebrity America has ever seen, she by far has been the most popular in recent years. Many believe that the interest in Jenner comes from the fact that people (born pre-millennium) had only ever known the Bruce persona; the guy on the box of Wheaties. No one had any idea of the personal turmoil that Caitlyn had to endure being trapped behind a man she no longer felt connected to. The ESPY award winner says she knew she needed to tell her story for her and those like her.
Amid a time when gay rights are among the most heated of conversations, transgenderism (until recently) has taken a huge backseat in the fight. Jenner’s womanly reveal in Vanity Fair was a loud cymbal ringing; telling both the straight and gay communities that transgenders are in the building for good. As an athletic icon, winning the Olympic gold medal in 1976, Jenner not only threw sports fans into a whirlwind but also fellow athletes who may or may not have agreed with Caitlyn winning the ESPY award. However, being that the award is given for courageous acts, the ESPY’s felt there could be no better recipient. The ESPY award winner, Caitlyn Jenner, gave her tearful speech of courage in hopes to enlighten the world of athletics about transgenderism.
“If there is one thing I do know, it is the power of the spotlight. Sometimes it gets overwhelming but with attention comes responsibility.” Words from the speech that led Jenner to tears as she recalled the many LGBTQ men and women who have lost their lives in the fight for equality. She thanked her mother for being present, who had just recently survived a surgical procedure and was not expected to make it to the ceremony. Her words rang true for many watching the ESPY award show as she took the stage to make a declaration that America would be a kinder, more compassionate nation if people are allowed to be who they feel they are without judgement and ridicule.
Jenner gave recognition to other transgendered pioneers such as Janet Mock, Laverne Cox, Chaz Bono, and fellow athlete Renée Richards, saying how they traveled the same road she is currently on with just as much courage, if not more. The 11-minute ESPY speech, given by a tearful Caitlyn Jenner, was by far one of the most courage filled speeches of the night. It was a speech that encouraged, conflicted, and challenged many people, straight and gay alike to accept each others differences. As Jenner finished her ESPY award speech, she said one of the most profound things many are sure to agree upon, “It’s not just about one person, it’s about thousands of people. It’s not just about me. It’s about all of us accepting one another.”
Opinion by Danyol Jaye
Time- Caitlyn Jenner’s Speech at the ESPY Awards Was the Best of Sports
YouTube- Caitlyn Jenner Full Speech – 2015 ESPYs Awards – Arthur Ashe Courage Award – ESPN – HD
Entertainment Weekly- Peter Berg shares transphobic meme after Caitlyn Jenner ESPY win [UPDATE]
Feature Photo Courtesy of Disney-ABC Television Group’s Flickr Page- Creative Commons License