WATCH: Caitlyn Jenner's Poignant Speech at ESPYS
After much pushback from the rabid right (mostly involving false memes), Caitlyn Jenner accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award Wednesday night, an honor bestowed upon an athlete "possessing strength in the face of adversity, courage in the face of peril and the willingness to stand up for their beliefs no matter what the cost."
It was her first award since her transition and a major watershed for trans rights in sports and society.
“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 went on to discuss trans youth, namely the late Mercedes Williamson and Sam Taub, and how important it was to stand up to abuse.
"If you want to make jokes, call me names, doubt my intentions, go ahead because 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," Jenner said to rousing applause. "So for the people out there wondering what this is all about... it's not just about one person, it's about thousands of people. It's about all of us accepting one another."
Watch the entire speech below.