Caitlyn Jenner accepts Arthur Ashe Award at ESPYs by Ben Sanders 2015-07-15
This article shared 4984 times since Wed Jul 15, 2015
The 2015 ESPY Awards were full of raw emotion. Throughout the three-hour sports-awards show on ABC, numerous men and women were rewarded for their bravery and perseverance over the past year. But it was Caitlyn Jenner who arguably stole it for herself.
Jenner, the recipient of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, was introduced to an audience of millions by Abby Wambach, who helped lead the U.S. women's national soccer team to a World Cup victory earlier this month.
"It seems like every time I turn around in life, I'm putting myself in these high-pressure situations," Jenner said during her speech. "Competing in the [Olympic] Games, raising a familybut I've never felt more pressure in my life than over these last couple of months. Picking out this outfit. OK, girlsI get it! You got to get the shoes, the hair and the makeup. The whole process was exhausting!"
Jokes aside, though, Jenner used her platform to deliver a simple message: Treat everyone the sameno matter their gender, sexual orientation, etc.
She discussed the plight of trans people all over the world who are bullied, simply because they don't conform to societal gender norms. The numbers speak for themselves: A May 2015 study by the Williams Institute showed that 41 percent of trans or gender non-conforming people attempt suicide at one point in their lives. Jenner brought up Sam Taub, a 15-year-old transgender boy from Michigan whose death by suicide came just a few days before Jenner's famous one-on-one interview with Diane Sawyer.
And the violence against trans people is not just self-inflicted: Jenner mentioned the late Mercedes Williamson, a 17-year-old transgender woman of color whose body was found in a field in Mississippi. According to police, her cause of death was murder.
It was around this time when Caitlyn Jenner went from being a celebrity giving a speech to an advocate for transgender people everywhere.
"Trans people deserve something vital," she said. "They deserve your respect." And with that, the crowd erupted in cheers. It was one of many.
She also used this platform to thank everyone who's helped her during the last couple of years. The list included her "buddy," Diane Sawyer, her family and, specifically, her mother.
Then near the end of her speech, she spoke to all her hatersall the people who've questioned her motives.
"So for the people out there wondering what this is all about, whether it's about courage, or controversy, or 'publicity.' Well, I'll tell you what it's about," she said. "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."
Among some of the night's other winners were the U.S. women's soccer team (best team), teenage Little League baseball player Mo'ne Davis (best breakthrough athlete), the Aaron Rodgers (best NFL player), Serena Williams (best female tennis player) and Rob Gronkowski (best comeback athlete).
B>From an HRC press release:
Another Olympian and LGBT advocate, soccer player Abby Wambach, a key member of the U.S. women's national soccer team that won the World Cup earlier this month, presented the award to Jenner.
"Caitlyn Jenner has already shown the world her courage and honesty, bringing a new and fuller level of understanding about transgender people," said HRC Foundation's Jay Brown, Director of Public Education and Research. "The image of Jenner, with her supportive and loving family, being honored for her courage by World Cup champion Abby Wambach, sends a powerful message to transgender people who all too often face rejection, harassment, and ridicule."
"We continue to hope that Jenner's story will inspire others to live their truth. We also hope that this moment helps to shine a light on the challenges many transgender people with far less access to resources and critical support face each and every day," Brown said.
Last year's Arthur Ashe Courage Award winner was Michael Sam, America's first openly-gay professional football player.
Jenner's honor comes at a time when more and more Americans know transgender people, and support them. A recent national HRC survey revealed that 22 percent of likely voters personally know or work with someone who is transgender, and, of that group, two-thirds expressed favorable feelings toward them. That's up from 17 percent who said they knew a transgender person just a year ago.
The data provides powerful empirical evidence that the increase in the visibility of transgender people in our workplaces, our communities, in our popular cultureincluding Jenner, Emmy-nominated actress Laverne Cox, and New York Times bestselling writer Janet Mockhelps propel this growing support.
This positive trend of understanding is perhaps reflected most dramatically in the corporate world, where HRC Foundation's work with Fortune 500 companies through the annual Corporate Equality Index has resulted in two-thirds now offering explicit gender identity non-discrimination protections, and 34 percent offering transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits.
But even with those gains, many transgender people still face tremendous challenges, with great disparities faced by transgender women and transgender people of color. In 2015, at least 9 transgender women - almost all of whom were Black or Latina - have been murdered and 8 young transgender people have died by suicide. HIV continues to disproportionately affect transgender women. And unemployment, discrimination in healthcare, violence and homelessness are major concerns for the community.
This article shared 4984 times since Wed Jul 15, 2015
Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.
SPORTS Aces rout Sky 103-70 2021-09-18 - In WNBA action, the Las Vegas Aces routed the Chicago Sky 103-70 at Wintrust Arena on Sept. 17. A day after Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot declared Sept. 16 to be "Candace Parker Day," the Sky forward ...
Gay Games XI postponed because of pandemic 2021-09-16 - Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the upcoming Gay Games XI have been moved from November 2022 to November 2023, Outsports reported. "Given the ongoing uncertainty regarding the state of travel restrictions internationally and in Hong Kong, ...
USWNT national soccer team slams contract offer 2021-09-16 - The United States Women's National Team Players Association (USWNTPA) is calling the U.S. Soccer Federation's offer of identical contracts for its women's and men's national teams a publicity stunt, according to Yahoo! Sports. On S ...
SPORTS Sky come up short vs. Mystics 2021-09-13 - At Wintrust Arena on Sept. 12, the Chicago Sky lost to the Washington Mystics 79-72. Sky center Azura Stevens scored a season-high 18 points in the Sky's loss. Earlier this season, the former first round pick ...
WNBA names 25 greatest players in history 2021-09-06 - On Sept. 5, the WNBA commemorated its landmark 25th season by announcing the selection of "The W25"a collection of the 25 greatest and most influential players in WNBA history, according to a press release. The unveiling ...
Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).
The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.