It is hard to say it better than Caitlyn Jenner did last night, as she accepted the 2015 Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYS, so I’ll let her be the one to speak.
“Trans people deserve something vital: they deserve your respect. And from that respect can come a more compassionate community, a more empathetic society, and a better world for all of us.”
Standing at the platform in a long white gown, Jenner started her acceptance speech off with some jokes about her newfound woman-hood (particularly the unexpected brutality of the Fashion Police, who she begged to go easy on her). She then delved into a deeper, more heartfelt plea for society to take trans issues seriously. Rather than focusing on herself, and her own accomplishments, Jenner used her ten-minute speech to talk about the hardships that trans folks face on a daily basis. She situated her story within the larger landscape of trans lives, and paid homage to the staggeringly high number of trans teenagers who are murdered each year, as well as the many courageous women who have had the strength to go through their transitions in the public eye.
“I know I’m clear with my responsibility in going forward, to tell my story the right way. To keep learning. To do whatever I can to re-shape the landscape of how trans issues are viewed and how trans people are treated… There are a lot of people out there wondering what this is all about. I’ll tell you what its about: its about what happens from here. its not just about me, its 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 always don’t understand, I want to prove that it is absolutely possible if we only do it together.”
Jenner encouraged the crowd to use education as a force for good, and to push themselves to learn as much as they could about the issues that so many in our society struggle with. She also thanked her family, particularly her mother, for their un-ending support.
While we’ve made a lot of progress surrounding trans justice, there is a lot more work to be done. If you are interested in supporting an LGBTQ organization while you shop, then head on over to the Goodshop queue to make your selection!