Entertainment

7 Moving Quotes from Caitlyn Jenner’s ESPYs Speech

She earned a well-deserved standing ovation from the audience, and from us

caitlyn jenner espys speech

Jenner onstage at the 2015 ESPYs (Photo: Image Group LA/ABC via Getty Images)

Caitlyn Jenner made her first major public appearance Wednesday night when she accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage award at the ESPYs. Clearly, Jenner has found her style stride, stunning in a white Atelier Versace gown and side-swept hair. But even more beautiful was her moving message of acceptance and transgender advocacy.

The deeply personal speech touched on Jenner’s whirlwind of emotions and self-discovery, while appealing for more respect and compassion towards the transgender community. Amid tearful thank-yous to her family, she humbly and humorously reflected on her first experiences as a transgender woman—including dressing the part. To the fashion police, she said: “Please be kind to me, I’m new at this.”

Here, the most poignant quotes from the night. (Maybe have a tissue on hand.)

“All across the world at this very moment there are young people coming to terms with being transgender. They’re learning that they’re different and they’re trying to figure out how to handle that, on top of every other problem that a teenager has. They’re getting bullied, they’re getting beaten up, they’re getting murdered, and they’re committing suicide.”

“If there’s one thing I do know about my life, it’s the power of the spotlight. With attention comes responsibility. I’m clear with my responsibility going forward…to promote a very simple idea: accepting people for who they are. Accepting people’s differences. My plea to you tonight is to join me in making this one of your issues as well.”

“This transition has been harder on me than anything I could imagine. And that’s the case for so many others besides me. For that reason alone, trans people deserve something vital: they deserve your respect. From that respect comes a more compassionate community, a more empathetic society.”

“My biggest fear in coming out was I never wanted to hurt anyone else. Most of all my family and my kids. I always wanted my children to be so proud of their dad because of what he has accomplished in his life. “

“It’s an honour to have the word courage associated with my life.”

“If you want to call me names, make jokes, doubt my intentions, go ahead. The reality is, I can take it. But for the thousands of kids out there coming to terms with being true to who they are, they shouldn’t have to take it.”

“I’ll tell you what this is all about. It’s about what happens from here. 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. We’re all different. That’s not a bad thing, that’s a good thing.”

Watch the whole speech below:

Related:
10 Breakthrough Moments for Transgender Positivity
13 Things We Learned From Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair Cover Story
Laverne Cox on OITNB and Trans Activism