'This transition has been harder on me than anything I can imagine' - Caitlyn Jenner wins courage award
– 16 July 2015 12:00 AM
Accepting an award for courage last night Caitlyn Jenner urged acceptance for others who are transgender.
She received a standing ovation from some of the sporting world's biggest stars at the Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly (ESPYs) Awards after her 10-minute speech. The awards honour the year's top athletes and moments.
"This transition has been harder on me than anything I can imagine," said Jenner.
Noting her powerful celebrity platform, the 1976 Olympic decathlon champion and current reality TV star vowed "to do whatever I can to reshape the landscape of how transgender people are viewed and treated".
Jenner's voice broke as she thanked members of her famous family, including stepdaughters Kim and Khloe Kardashian.
Tears welled in the eyes of Jenner's other daughters, Kylie and Kendall, as she spoke.
"I never wanted to hurt anyone else, most of all my family and my kids," said Jenner.
She urged the crowd that included American football, basketball, baseball and hockey superstars to remember what they say and do is "absorbed and observed by millions of people, especially young people".
A video narrated by Mad Men actor Jon Hamm traced Jenner's life from the time when she was known as Bruce Jenner to her current transition. She mentioned she once considered ending her own life.
She was shown applying makeup, buttoning her blouse in her closet and fastening the strap on her heeled shoes.
With her trembling hands clasped in front of her, Jenner joked with the audience about her struggle to select the cream gown she wore.
"OK girls, I get it," she said, as the audience laughed. "You've got to get the shoes, the hair, the makeup, it was exhausting. And the fashion police, please be kind on me. I'm new at this."
Jenner didn't walk the red carpet outside the Microsoft Theatre in downtown Los Angeles, and she didn't appear backstage to talk with reporters, as most of the previous Ashe award recipients have done. ESPN said Jenner wanted her onstage comments to stand.
Reaction among Jenner's sporting peers on the red carpet was mixed.
Little League baseball pitcher Mo'ne Davis called Jenner "brave".
"She's really brave to have the courage to get through a lot of those things," said the 14-year-old who won best breakthrough athlete.
Former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield said: "I just know that's Bruce Jenner and I'll leave it at that."
Jenner's new TV series called I Am Cait airs on July 26.