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Caitlyn Jenner Delivers Moving Speech at the 2015 ESPY Awards

Caitlyn Jenner received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award during the 2015 ESPY Awards last night (July 15), and delivered a moving speech about the value and necessity of acceptance.

Jenner didn’t mince words when she spoke about the serious danger those in the transgender community face by daring to exist. The onetime Olympic star said, “All across this country, right now, 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. The numbers that you heard before are staggering, but they’re the reality of what it’s like to be trans today.”

Caitlyn went on to appeal directly to the athletes in the room and their understanding of overcoming obstacles, saying, “I know the people in this room have respect for hard work, for training, for going through something difficult to achieve the outcome that you desire. I trained hard, I competed hard, and for that people respected me. But this transition has been harder on me than anything I could imagine and thats the case or so many others beside me. For that reason alone trans people deserve something vital. 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.”

Caitlyn also addressed people skeptical of her intentions, saying, “If you wanna call me names, make jokes, 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. So for the people out there wondering what this is all about, whether its about courage or controversy or publicity, 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. It’s not a bad thing. It’s a good thing.”

Celebrities like Laverne Cox, Russell Simmons and Lily Alridge rallied around Caitlyn, showing their support via social media.

You can (and should) watch Caitlyn’s speech in its entirety in the video above.

See Photos from the 2015 ESPY Awards

Next: Caitlyn Jenner Plays Tennis + Talks to Mom in 'I Am Cait' Clip

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