Betty DeGeneres Visits HRC’s DC Headquarters
March 16, 2012 by Eric Cameron, Digital Media Associate
Betty DeGeneres never imagined herself being an activist. “Who would have dreamed it,” she said today while chatting with HRC staff at our DC headquarters. In another world, she’d probably be “playing a lot more golf.”
But activist she is, and in the 15 years since her daughter Ellen’s high-profile coming out, she’s proven herself a tremendous ally to the LGBT community.
“For a long time this felt like my second home,” said Betty, as she stepped in front of the HRC crowd. Back in 1997, Betty made headlines as the first non-gay spokesperson for HRC’s National Coming Out Day. She continues to speak at HRC events across the country and has worked in close partnership with PFLAG and other LGBT organizations.
Betty shared personal stories about her inspiring advocacy work. “I feel like the face of all the moms and dads who are supportive,” she said. “The response has been amazing. That’s what keeps me going.”
Betty also stressed the vital importance of coming out. “The closet is a stifling place to live... It means so much to be your authentic self. It helps the whole cause.”
It’s easy to see why Betty has touched so many hearts with her advocacy work; she shares all the charm, warmth and humor of her famous daughter. Betty looks forward to the day when work like hers won't be necessary, but for the meantime, she has no plans to retire.
“Another 15 years?” asked HRC VP of Programs David Smith. “I’d like that,” she said with a smile.
Photo (c) B. Proud / HRC
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