LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Caitlyn Jenner made her first major public appearance at Wednesday night’s ESPY Awards, where she received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.

Jenner, formerly known as 1976 Olympic decathlon champion Bruce Jenner, received the honor at the ESPN-hosted ceremony at the Microsoft Theater to recognize “the courage to embrace a truth that had been hidden for years.”

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Bruce Jenner, who said he has long suffered from gender confusion, was re-introduced to the world as Caitlyn Jenner on June 1 with a flashy photo spread and feature story in Vanity Fair magazine.

Later that day, ESPN announced plans to give Jenner the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, which is presented “to individuals whose contributions transcend sports.”

“Bruce 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,” ESPYs 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.”

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Jenner said the honor is “truly special.”

“For the first time this July, I will be able to stand as my true self in front of my peers,” she said.

Previous recipients of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award include Muhammad Ali, Jim Valvano, Pat Tillman, Robin Roberts and Nelson Mandela. Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted by an NFL team, received the honor last year.

“This is another unique thing that they’re starting to incorporate (tolerance) into the sports world,” Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Julius Thomas said. “We’re all people.”

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