The transgender former Olympian accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award and delivered an impassioned message about members of the trans community who are the victims of bullying and discrimination.
“If you want to call me names, make jokes, doubt my intentions, go ahead, because the reality is, I can take it,” she said. “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.”
Berg, who is best known for producing the cult hit TV series “Friday Night Lights,” took issue with Jenner receiving the prestigious award. Berg – who directed “Hancock, “Lone Survivor” and “Battleship” – posted an image of Iraq War veteran and double amputee Gregory D. Gadson next to a picture of Jenner with the caption: “One man traded 2 legs for the freedom of the other to trade 2 balls for 2 boobs. Guess which man made the cover of Vanity Fair, was praised for his courage by President Obama and is to be honored with the ‘Arthur Ashe Courage Award’ by ESPN?” Gadson, who played a supporting role in “Battleship,” lost both legs in a roadside bombing in 2007. Berg commented “Yup,” on his own post.
Despite the widespread praise Jenner has received for her ESPYS speech and other recent media appearances, a small but vocal chorus of famous figures has taken some overt and thinly veiled shots at her in public forums.
Oscar-winning Hollywood icon Clint Eastwood made a joke at Jenner’s expense during an appearance on Spike TV’s Guys Choice Awards last month, which was cut for its insensitivity. Hip-hop artist Snoop Dogg has been called out for comparing Jenner to a “science project.” And a handful of other celebrities have been taken to task and later apologized for off-color remarks at Jenner’s expense.
For her part, Jenner has taken the high road. “It’s not just about me, it’s about all of us accepting one another,” Jenner said on Wednesday at the ESPYS. “And while it may not always be easy to get past the things you always don’t understand, I want to prove that it is absolutely possible — if we only do it together.”
And. at the very, least it looks as if Siri has her back.
If you ask the iPhone automated assistant, “What gender is Bruce Jenner?” it says, “Caitlyn Jenner is female.”