Ellen Degeneeneres Being Gay

1180 Words5 Pages
“I should be proud of who I am, and I don't care if people approve or not,” declared Ellen DeGeneres on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Ellen Lee DeGeneres is an American comedian, television host, actress, writer, and producer born on January 26, 1958. She believes that no one, man, woman, gay, straight, or otherwise, should ever be forced to live in shame. This belief is one that is shared by millions of people living in the United States today. However, in the past, people were not quite so accepting. Before the 21st century, gay people in the US were forced to live in shame, as they faced political and social discrimination. Ellen, being gay herself, refused to succumb to this injustice. In 1997, DeGeneres demonstrated incredible courage and self-confidence…show more content…
The first coming out took place in the April 14, 1997 issue of Time magazine, which displayed a smiling DeGeneres on the cover with the bolded caption ‘Yep, I’m Gay’. When asked by Time why she specifically chose to come out at that point, DeGeneres stated that she "could have done this a long time ago,” but she did not "think people would have accepted it as readily.” Though general attitudes toward homosexuals in 1997 were cold, they were much less severe than in earlier years, so DeGeneres felt it was safe enough to come out. Next came the figurative coming out. The sitcom Ellen focuses on the lives of neurotic bookstore owner Ellen Morgan (Ellen DeGeneres) and her friends. In season 4 episode 22, titled “The Puppy Episode”, Ellen Morgan became the first gay lead character on American network television. In this historic episode, Ellen goes on a date with her ex-boyfriend, Richard, and meets an openly gay woman named Susan, who believes that Ellen is gay. Ellen denies this, but after a discussion with her therapist, she decides to come clean about her repressed sexual orientation. The coming out scene depicts Ellen and Susan in a crowded airport. "Why can't I just say the truth, I mean be who I am. I'm 35 years old, I'm so afraid to tell people. I mean, I just– this isn't– I'm gay," she confesses, accidentally broadcasting the last two…show more content…
After DeGeneres’s character came out in the season four finale of Ellen, the show’s ratings plummeted in the fifth season, as it was criticized by many viewers for being “too gay.” Ellen was cancelled, sending DeGeneres’s career into a difficult period full of unsuccessful projects. Nevertheless, “The Puppy Episode”, which eventually won a Peabody award, opened the door to portraying gay characters more openly and more often. Countless shows such as Will & Grace, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Queer as Folk, Six Feet Under, Brothers and Sisters, True Blood, Glee, Modern Family, and Sunday's American Gods have followed in Ellen's footsteps by putting LGBT characters in the spotlight. Nowadays, LGBT storylines on television shows are so casual that most would barely notice their presence. This increased accustomedness toward LGBT people in television has been reflected in real life, decreasing the prevalence of homophobia. Furthermore, DeGeneres's broadened the bounds of self-expression. In November 2017, Barack Obama awarded DeGeneres with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her bold 1997 declaration. He stated that “it’s easy to forget now just how much courage was required for Ellen to come out on the most public of stages.” By this, Obama meant that DeGeneres’s decision to come out as gay in real life and
Open Document