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WATCH: Caitlyn Jenner Tears Up, Asks For Acceptance of People 'For Who They Are'

WATCH: Caitlyn Jenner Tears Up, Asks For Acceptance of People 'For Who They Are'

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The former Olympian spoke in public for the first time since her transition, calling it 'harder for me than anything I could have imagined.'

Lifeafterdawn

Caitlyn Jenner showed grace, poise, humility and her trademark sense of humor in accepting the Arthur Ashe Award for courage at the ESPYS in Los Angeles Wednesday night.

US Soccer Star Abby Wambach introduced a video retrospective and presented the award to Jenner.

Joking with the audience as she took the stage in a flawless floor-length ivory gown, Jenner said getting dolled up was just her latest high pressure situation: "Okay girls, I get it. It was exhausting. Fashion Police, please be kind to me."

And she admitted her transition "has been harder for me than anything I could have imagined."

But as an accomplished public speaker in her previous gender expression, Jenner got to the point of her speech as she revealed what she called the "real truth."

"Before few months ago, I've never met anyone else who was trans. Never."

She spoke passionately about the struggles of being transgender, from bullying to murder and even suicide, and challenged the audience to join her, "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."

Jenner also thanked her family, including her elderly mother, all of whom joined her at the ceremony.

In closing, she urged those watching to remember: "It's not just about one person. It's about thousands. Not just me, all of us."

Watch Caitlyn Jenner's speech from the ESPYs, including Abby Wambach's introduction and the video, from ABC News below.


ABC US News | World News

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Dawn Ennis

The Advocate's news editor Dawn Ennis successfully transitioned from broadcast journalism to online media following another transition that made headlines; in 2013, she became the first trans staffer in any major TV network newsroom. As the first out transgender editor at The Advocate, the native New Yorker continues her 30-year media career, in which she has earned more than a dozen awards, including two Emmys. With the blessing of her three children, Dawn retains the most important job title she's ever held: Dad.
The Advocate's news editor Dawn Ennis successfully transitioned from broadcast journalism to online media following another transition that made headlines; in 2013, she became the first trans staffer in any major TV network newsroom. As the first out transgender editor at The Advocate, the native New Yorker continues her 30-year media career, in which she has earned more than a dozen awards, including two Emmys. With the blessing of her three children, Dawn retains the most important job title she's ever held: Dad.