In her first major appearance since coming out as transgender, Cait accepted 2015's Arthur Ashe Courage Award (named after the African-American tennis star who died of AIDS in 1993) after a moving montage about her life, which included sweet commentary from daughter Kendall Jenner, trans advocate Janet Mock and Caitlyn's mother.
In front of some of the world's biggest athletes and celebrities, Cait then gave an eloquent and commanding speech about not only what the transgender community needs to progress, but really what we as humankind need to as well. Watch the full tribute above.
Here are some choice sections of the speech:
"My plea to you tonight is to join me in making this one of your issues as well. How do we start? We start with education. I was fortunate to meet Arthur Ashe a few times and I know how important education was to him. Learn as much as you can about another person to understand them better.
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 that’s the case for so many others besides 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...
So for the people out there wondering what all this is about—whether it’s about courage or controversy or publicity—well, I’ll tell you what it’s all 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 are 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 do not understand, I want to prove that it is absolutely possible if we only do it together."
Read the full speech via the Washington Post.