HRC Blog

15 Years Later, Looking Back at Ellen’s Legacy, and Her Mom Betty’s

Fifteen years ago last night, Ellen DeGeneres’ onscreen persona told the world, “I’m gay.”

“The Puppy Episode” first aired on April 30, 1997, and while shows like Will & Grace and Glee have made coming out a regular prime time occurrence, it’s important to remember what a groundbreaking moment that was. Though we’ve come a long way, Ellen tweeted yesterday that she’s “still waiting for that puppy.”

Ellen’s mom Betty appeared in that episode and has remained an outspoken advocate for the LGBT community ever since. The Boston Spirit recently interviewed Betty about her LGBT advocacy and work with HRC:

I had never even heard of the Human Rights Campaign and they were the first ones to contact me [after Ellen came out]. They asked me to be their first non-gay spokesperson for their national coming out project. That’s what launched me on this late blooming career, speaking at their dinners all over the country. Then universities started asking me to speak, then corporations. So it’s been 15 years of a lot of speaking, and traveling, and educating, and it’s been great.

 

Betty visited her “second home” at HRC headquarters in March and stressed the importance of coming out. “It means so much to be your authentic self. It helps the whole cause.”

You can read The Boston Spirit’s entire interview with Betty here.

Images courtesy of Alan Light/Wikimedia Commons and B. Proud/HRC

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