“We have come a long way. But we have a lot of work to do.”
Caitlyn Jenner’s ESPYs speech has opened minds to the LGBT community as she tells how education is key to learning how to understand and accept.
We may not have all heard of the ESPY Awards [link to espy site] in America previously to the SnapChat story that was broadcast across to the world of ‘snapchatters’ on the 15th July (me included), but, we have heard about, listened to, or experienced the transgender community and of course, Caitlyn Jenner.
The gold-medal-winning Olympian, father to most famous family around and now ESPY Courage award winner; Caitlyn Jenner’s transformation story has been very public, very emotional and very important to the transgender community. After receiving an Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Award (thank god for intialisms, ESPY is much easier to say), Caitlyn Jenner got up on stage in a room full of sporting stars, amazing athletes and of course celebrities, looking great in Versace and ready with a speech [link to youtube video of speech]. A speech that opened hearts and minds to equality for everyone, and the struggles trans people have. A speech that has certainly kicked up a fuss and hopefully helped in the fight for equality for everyone.
With such a well-known name and high-profile life, Caitlyn Jenner is continuing to use this positively to make the world aware, accepting and respecting of all the transgender people out there;
“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…Learn as much as you can about another person to understand them better.”.
And of course, these words are true; the best way to understand and accept someone’s decisions is to listen and learn about them, but to also let them be happy.
“But this transition has been harder on me than anything I could imagine. And that’s the case for so many others beside me. For that reason alone, trans people deserve something vital. They deserve respect. And from that respect comes a more compassionate community, a more empathetic society, and a better world for all of us.”
Preach it sister!
After stating that we still have a long way to go to become a world where we all accept everyone for who they are, no matter what they are, I couldn’t agree more with her. We need more awareness, understanding and respect; not just for the trans community; but for all. This year has already showed us that Love Wins [link to this campaign] when same sex marriage was legalised in all states in America, finally, but we shouldn’t just be focused on the fact love is love, no matter who it involves, we should also think that a life is a life, no matter how somebody lives it. People should be able to live their lives exactly how they want to, and be happy doing it. Hello, we’re in the 21st century here!
However, one country very behind the times and full of out-dated views and opinions on the LGBT community is Russia. After seeing a video that The Independent [link to that video] posted on their Facebook page of a gay couple walking down the street in Russia holding hands and all the abuse that they got hurled verbally and physically, astonished me. Someone even shouted “…there’s too many gays nowadays.”, as if being openly gay is the outdated thing that shouldn’t be around, wow. All a bit backwards if you ask me.
This tells me that even though we have come a long way in being more accepting, there are just some places and people that are simply too simple to open up their minds about the world around them. Sad really, but it’s reality.
This came across when some people slated Caitlyn Jenner for receiving the Courage award at the ESPYS; Langston Wertz Jr., sports columnist for charlotteobserver.com tweeted [the links to these tweets] “I didn’t think @ESPYS should’ve honoured her with a courage award for making a choice…”. And sports anchor for Fox 29 tweeted “Insulting that #espn selects “Bruce” Jenner to win Arthur Ashe Courage Award w all the stories they have done on kids in sports w cancer”, although having the right to an opinion, he later apologised for being insensitive. And although Caitlyn Jenner hasn’t been through a physical battle with cancer or the trauma of amputation, this doesn’t make those who has any less courageous. Caitlyn Jenner has been through a different battle; with herself, for many years over who she really is and what she should do.
Like Laverne Cox said, “I feel like an historic moment happened for community tonight”, I agree with her and hopefully more people have opened their minds to understanding. You go C.J.!