ESPN announced that Caitlyn Jenner will be presented with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at The ESPYS on July 15 in Los Angeles, which will air on ABC. According to Vanity Fair, all 10 of her children and stepchildren will be on stage with her.
Bruce Jenner first discussed transitioning to a woman in an interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer that aired in April. At one point in the two-hour broadcast, Jenner told Sawyer: "My brain is much more female than it is male. It's hard for people to understand that. But that's what my soul is."
Jenner transitioned to Caitlyn on March 15, according to an interview with Vanity Fair, which will appear in July. "Call me Caitlyn," declares a headline over a photograph of her in a strapless corset, legs crossed, sitting on a stool that was released Monday. The image was shot by famed celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz.
"Bruce [Jenner] has received many accolades over the years for being one of the greatest Olympians of our time, but The ESPYS are honored to celebrate Bruce becoming Caitlyn," ESPN executive producer Maura Mandt said. "She has shown the courage to embrace a truth that had been hidden for years, and to embark on a journey that may not only give comfort to those facing similar circumstances, but can also help to educate people on the challenges that the transgender community faces."
"In the past few months, the overwhelming outpouring of support from all over the world for my journey has been incredible," Jenner said. "However, being honored with this award, which is named after one of my heroes, is truly special. For the first time this July, I will be able to stand as my true self in front of my peers."
Bruce Jenner won the 1976 Olympic decathlon, setting a world record and becoming an international sports star. Jenner later became an actor in a number of TV movies, a race car driver (winning the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1986) and a successful businessman. Jenner married his third wife, Kris Kardashian, in 1991, and became part of the E! network series "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" in 2007. (Kris and Bruce Jenner were divorced in December 2014.)
The Arthur Ashe Courage Award is named for the late tennis player, who died of AIDS-related pneumonia in 1993 after contracting HIV through a blood transfusion. Past winners have included Jim Valvano, Muhammad Ali, Dean Smith, Nelson Mandela, Billie Jean King, Pat Summitt, Robin Roberts and Michael Sam.
Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still and his 5-year-old daughter Leah will also be honored during The ESPYS, as they will receive the Jimmy V Perseverance Award for the way they have handled Leah's inspirational fight with cancer.