Ellen DeGeneres might be one of the most un-supposing heralds of gay pride in the United States. As a comedienne, her humor has always been remarkably lacking in the edgy, mean-spiritedness that almost anyone aspiring to stand-up comedy seemed to think was a need in order to succeed. Ellen’s persona was straight-faced, beneath that warm and insightful—generally likable. She came out as gay in 1997, amidst great controversy and more than a little vitriol. Her television show at that time, a sit-com entitled “Ellen”, ran for a year after DeGeneres’ announcement, and irrepressibly continued to stand for the representation of lesbians in the media. The plot of her show gave her character a girlfriend, and this was aired, as in seen onscreen, during prime time, in a nation and at a time where cultural attitudes that supported such a thing were very much in the minority. The network itself even added a parental advisory to the show for merely kissing.
In the past fifteen or so years, attitudes have changed. Such a change in so many people, whether great or gradual, did not come from waiting in silence. It took someone like Ellen DeGeneres to break the silence and put herself in the line of fire, and continue to speak up regardless.
DeGeneres currently runs a talk show where she continues to be the one of the primary voices, and the widest-reaching in the nation, when it comes to speaking up against bullying related to gender-orientation, and bias crimes.
This passionate steadfastness has immense value to those who continue to suffer from gender orientation discrimination. At the same time, Ellen naturally maintains a broad appeal to multiple audience demographics interested in a variety of issues and topics. She gave her voice to the scatterbrained fish character Dory in the 2003 animated film Finding Nemo. According to the DVD commentary, that character had been conceived as male until writer-director Andrew Stanton overheard an episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show that his wife was watching.
13 thoughts on “Lesbian Icon: Generation Ellen DeGeneres”
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