Caitlyn Jenner’s called on sports people to help change attitudes towards transgender people, but boxer Evander Holyfield doesn’t seem to get it.
The reality star, who used to be known as Bruce, received a standing ovation after winning a “courage” award at a ceremony in LA.
Speaking on stage at the ESPYS, which honours sportspeople, the former Olympian said: “Trans people deserve something vital, they deserve your respect.”
But afterwards, former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield said: “I just know that’s Bruce Jenner and I’ll leave it at that.”
Others on the red carpet reacted differently though.
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Little League baseball pitcher Mo’ne Davis, who is 14, described Caitlyn as “brave to have the courage to get through a lot of those things”.
Although some think say college basketball player Lauren Hill, who died of brain cancer in April, was more deserving of the honour.
ESPN, the TV network behind the awards, has also denied rumours Caitlyn was given the award in exchange for plugs on her new reality show, calling the claims “completely false”.
In her 10-minute acceptance speech, Cailtlyn asked the audience, which included football, basketball, baseball and ice hockey stars, to make transgender equality one of their issues too.
She said what sport stars say and do is “absorbed and observed by millions of people, especially young people”.
The 65-year-old told them about trans teenagers who are bullied, beaten up, murdered or kill themselves, mentioning two people deaths that particularly touched her.
“If you want to call me names, make jokes and doubt my intentions, go ahead because the reality is I can take it”, she said.
“But for thousands of kids out there coming to terms with the reality of who they are they shouldn’t have to take it.”
Caitlyn described the last few months as “a whirlwind” after confirming she was transgender in April.
She said she hadn’t met another transgender person until recently, instead dealing with her situation alone and in private.
“I never wanted to hurt anyone else, most of all my family and my kids”, she said wiping her eye.
She thanked her family for their support, with daughters Kendall and Kylie Jenner also wiping away tears in the audience.
The Arthur Ashe award is named after the tennis player who died from AIDS in 1993 after a blood transfusion.
Caitlyn said she had met Arthur a few times and knew education was important to him.
“Learn as much as you can about another person to understand them as well as you can,” she said.
She also joked about struggling to choose her outfit for the ceremony.
“OK girls, I get it,” she said. “You’ve got to get the shoes, the hair, the makeup, it was exhausting. And the fashion police, please be kind on me. I’m new at this.”
Her new show “I Am Cait” starts in America this July.