While much of the response to Caitlyn Jenner has been positive, the revelation this week of Bruce Jenner’s new identity has also sparked some backlash. The U.K. publication The Telegraph reports that a petition has been started on change.org that seeks to have Jenner stripped of the Gold Medal won in the decathlon at the 1976 Olympics.
“The petition, written in the style of an open letter to the IOC, has already gained almost 9,000 signatures,” The Telegraph reports.
The petition reads, in part: “It has recently come to light that gold medalist Bruce Jenner is in fact transgender, and therefore, identifies as a woman. We congratulate Ms. Jenner on these new developments and wish her the best. However, this creates somewhat of a problem as Ms. Jenner (as talented as she is) claims that she has always believed herself to be truly female, and therefore, was in violation of committee rules regarding women competing in men’s sports and vice versa.”
Meanwhile, the announcement that Jenner will receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award from the ESPYs has also been met with criticism. The U.K.publication The Daily Mail reports that a number of those who are angered by the decision feel that the honor should have gone instead to Lauren Hill, a college basketball player who died of cancer in April.
Others have indicated that the Ashe Award should go to wounded war veteran Noah Galloway, who was rumored to be a runner-up for the award.
ESPN denied that it had selected a runner-up, and issued a statement Wednesday defending its choice of Jenner.
The network said in its statement: “The Arthur Ashe Courage Award is meant to honor individuals whose contributions transcend sports through courageous action. Sometimes that courage is demonstrated over the course of a lifetime and sometimes it is demonstrated in a single act that shines a light on an important contemporary issue.”
The ESPN statement adds: “At all times, there are many worthy candidates. This year, we are proud to honor Caitlyn Jenner embracing her identity and doing so in a public way to help move forward a constructive dialogue about progress and acceptance.”