Caitlyn Jenner brought the crowd to their feet as she delivered a powerful and poignant speech at the ESPY Awards on Wednesday. The ceremony was Caitlyn's first red carpet appearance and she was supported by almost her entire family as she accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award for the bravery she has shown going through her transition in the public eye.
Dressed in a glamorous white Versace gown, the 65-year-old was clearly overwhelmed by the occasion, and became tearful towards the end of her speech as she thanked her loved ones for their support.
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Caitlyn Jenner was moved to tears as she accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award
Proudly watching in the audience were her children Burt, Brandon, Brody, Kendall and Kylie, along with stepdaughters Kourtney, Kim and Khloe Kardashian, and mum Esther Jenner – ex-wife Kris Jenner and stepson Rob Kardashian were absent, as was Brandon's wife Leah, who is imminently expecting the couple's first baby.
"Here comes the tough part," Caitlyn said with tears in her eyes. "I'd like to thank my family. 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 for what he was able to accomplish in his life.
"You guys have given me so much support. I am so grateful to have all of you in my life. Thank you."
It was by no means the only poignant moment of Caitlyn's speech. "You know, it is an honour to have the word 'courage' associated with my life, but on this night another word comes to mind, and that is 'fortunate'," she said.
Caitlyn was supported by almost her entire family at the ESPY's - including proud mum Esther
"I owe a lot to sports. It's showed me the world. It's given me an identity. If someone wanted to bully me, well you know what, I was MVP of the football team – that wasn't going to be a problem. And the same goes tonight. If you want to call me names, make jokes, doubt my intentions, go ahead. Because the reality is, I can take it."
She then called attention to those without a voice. "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. 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: 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. And while it may not be easy to get past the things you don't understand, I want to prove that it is absolutely possible if we only do it together."
The ESPY (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly) Awards are presented yearly by the American cable television network ESPN. The Arthur Ashe Courage Award which Caitlyn received on Wednesday night is typically given to individuals whose contributions "transcend sports".