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In Awe Of…Ellen Degeneres

I’ve been a huge fan of Ellen for…well since I was very young. I used to watch reruns of The Ellen Show on Saudi Arabian Airlines flights from London to Jeddah and I was always captivated and hugely entertained by her goofy sense of humor. I remember as well when she came out of the closet. I don’t think I really fully understood what it meant to be gay at the time, but I remember it was a big deal. It was only in later years when I saw a documentary about the lead up and the aftermath of her coming out, that I fully understood how big of a deal it was.

Ellen was such a trailblazer. When she came out of the closet, the list of celebrities who were out was miniscule. The immediate effect on her career was catastrophic. The ratings of The Ellen Show plummeted after the initial surge for the “Puppy Episode. This was the episode in which her character on the show came out almost at the same time as she did in real life. Her show was eventually dropped and the goofball comedienne whom I so dearly loved faded into obscurity and for a time I wasn’t sure if she’d ever come back.

Fast forward to the present day, she hosts one of the most successful day time talk shows and won a Saturn award for her amazing turn as Dory the amnesia ridden fish in Finding Nemo. It’s the first and only time a Saturn award has been bestowed upon an actor for a voice over performance. In a nutshell, although her the initial effects of her coming out were negative she has now bounced back stronger than ever. Ellen is not only a successful entertainer now but she’s a role model for LGBT community. Although there are still homophobic issues to deal with in the entertainment industry, it has come on leaps and bounds and I think Ellen is a big reason for this.

Recently, there was controversy surrounding Ellen’s new JC Pennys commercial. There was a group in America known as One Million Moms who thought having an openly gay woman be a spokesperson for JC Pennys was inappropriate. They started an internet campaign to try and get rid of Degeneres but thankfully JC Pennys supported Ellen and did not give into their hateful campaign. The commercials premiered at last nights Oscars and will soon be shown on national television. Ellen gives a pretty good run down of the events in this video so I won’t try and paraphrase. I’ll just let Ellen charm the socks off you whilst still getting her valid points across ever so eloquently.

The fact that people still have a problem with a member of LBGT community being a spokesperson for a big brand is so ridiculous. One Million Moms harp on about it conflicting with their “traditional values” bla bla bla. Is it not a traditional value to treat others the way you would want to be treated? Is it not a “traditional value” to not judge people and treat everyone with the dignity and respect, that we as human beings are all entitled to? The sad thing is these groups are so consumed by ignorance that they probably will never accept that a member of the LGBT community is at the end of the day just a person, trying to live a happy and fulfilled life. It’s sad, but what’s the point in dwelling on it. A better solution would be to watch some Ellen Show reruns or better yet Finding Nemo. Ellen is such a strong woman and has had to deal with so much ignorance and rejection. In the end it’s only made her stronger and I’m so grateful that LGBT community have such a great role model. In conclusion….Just keep swimming, just keep swimming….

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