When Caitlyn Jenner took to the stage at last night’s ESPY Awards, we knew there’d be tears. What we didn’t know was that we’d be crying right along with her.
The 65-year-old Olympic gold medalist and (now) reality star was awarded the Arthur Ashe Courage Award for her phenomonial athletic career and for shedding light on the transgender community (after coming out as transgender herself earlier this year). After a touching 10-minute tribute to the retired athlete was played (narrated by Jon Hamm), Jenner delivered a powerful speech on respect, acceptance and the power of being in the spotlight.
“This transition has been harder on me than anything I could imagine and that’s the case for so many others beside me,” she said. “For that reason alone transgender people deserve something vital. They deserve your respect.”
Wiping away tears, Caitlyn went on to say that she knows it’s her responsibility to “promote a very simple idea: accepting people for who they are. Accepting people’s differences.”
Clearly this was a very tough speech to give, but looking out into the crowd, Jenner saw all of her kids hanging on to her every word. Yes, Cait’s children — the infamous Kardashians (sans Rob) and Jenners — were there, in coordinated outfits, no less. (We’re pretty certain the “all black everything” was Kim’s idea.)
Yes, the Kardashians and Jenners are annoying most of the time, but last night they taught us a lesson about what courage and sticking together as a family really means.
Watch the full speech below: