It was inspiring. It was tear-jerking. Above all, it was REAL!!
And don't worry.
"Thank you so much. It is so wonderful to be here tonight. Now the last few months have been a whirlwind of so many different experiences and emotions.
Every time I turn around in life, I'm putting myself in high-pressure situations, but I've never felt more than in the last couple of months. Take this outfit, okay girls, I get it. It was exhausting.
Fashion Police, please be kind to me.
I just wanna take a quick shoutout to our soccer team. Ladies, you clean up very well.
Real truth is before few months ago, I've never met anyone else who was trans. Never. As you saw, I dealt with my situation on my own, in private. But all across the world, there are young people coming to terms with being transgender.
They're trying to figure out how to handle that. They're getting bullied. They're getting murdered. And they're committing suicide. This is the reality of what it's like being trans today.
Every time something like this happens, people wonder… could it have been different? If there was a spotlight on the situation, could it have changed what happened. We'll never know. Something I do know about my life is the spotlight. With attention, comes responsibility. What you say, what you do is absorbed by millions of people — young people. I'm going to tell my story the right way — hopefully change the landscape of how trans people are treated — to promote the idea of accepting people for who they are.
My plea for you tonight is to join me in making this one of your issues as well. How do we start? Start with education. Learn as much as you can about another person.
I know the people in this room have respect for hard work. I trained hard. I competed hard. And for that, people respected me. But this transition has been harder for me than anything I could have imagined. Trans people deserve something vital. They deserve your respect.
And from that respect, comes a more compassionate community. A better world for all of us. There have been so many who have traveled this road before me, and I wanted to thank them all as well as Arthur Ashe and acknowledge all the young trans athletes out there. Now, as of this week, it appears that trans people will soon be serving the military.
We have come a long way but we still have a lot to do.
I like to thank my family. The biggest fear is 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. You guys have given so much back to me, I am so so grateful to have all of you in my life. Thank you.
And my mother, my mom who just a lil over a week ago had to have surgery and didn't think she was going to make it but she is here with me tonight to share this tonight. I always though that I got my courage and determination from my dad, who fought WW2, but I'm realizing now, mom, I got those qualities from you. I love you so much. I'm so glad you're here to share this with me.
It is an honor to have the word courage associated with my life. Another word I have is fortunate. I owe a lot to sports. It has given me an identity. If someone wanted to bully me [back then], it didn't matter because I was the MVP. Same thing goes tonight. If you want to call me names, make jokes, doubt my intesntions, go ahead, 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 wondering what this is all about — courage, controversy, publicity, it's about what happens from here… its not just about one person. It's about thousands. Not just me, all of us. Accepting one another. We're all different and that's not a bad thing. That's a good thing. While it may not be easy to get past, it is possible if we do it together. Thank you so much for this honor, bestowed on myself and my family."