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Jenner brought attention to the recent deaths of two transgender
people, one murder and one suicide. Mercedes Williamson, a 17-year-old trans
teen girl, was found stabbed to death in Mississippi. In early April, Sam Taub,
a 15-year-old trans boy, killed himself in Michigan.
"Every time something like this happens, people wonder,
'Could it have been different if spotlighting this issue with more attention
could have changed the way things happened?' We'll never know," Jenner said.
Jenner spoke of the responsibility she feels being in the
spotlight herself. She plans to use her public position to "do whatever I can
to reshape the landscape of how trans issues are viewed, how trans people are
treated, and then more broadly, to promote a very simple idea: accepting people
for who they are, accepting people's differences."
She also took the time to personally thank Diane Sawyer, her
children and her mother. Jenner began to tear up especially during her
addresses to her children, thanking them for all of their love and support.
"I always wanted my children to be so proud of their dad,
for what he was able to accomplish in his life. You guys have given so much
back to me. You've given me so much support. I am so, so grateful to have all
of you in my life. Thank you," Jenner said.
Her speech was moving and delivered with great poise, but
she pulled out all the stops with a powerful conclusion that once again brought
the audience to its feet.
"You know, it is an honor to have the word 'courage'
associated with my life, but on this night another word comes to mind, and that
is 'fortunate.' I owe a lot to sports. It's showed me the world. It's given me
an identity. If someone wanted to bully me—well, you know what, I was the MVP
of the football team. That just wasn't going to be a problem. And the same goes
for tonight. If you want to 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 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're all different. That's not a bad thing.
That's a good thing. And while it may not easy to get past the things you
[don't always] understand, I want to prove that it is absolutely possible if we
only do it together," Jenner said.