Gay Issues

What Ellen Degeneres Means to this Gay Woman

| by The Next Family

By Brandy Black

Dear Ellen-

When you “came out” to the world, I had a boyfriend – the man I was going to marry in fact. I admired you at the time for living in your truth. I was devastated to see your career disappear shortly after that. As you faded away from us I came into my own and “came out”. I have kept an eye out for you in the media, being that you are one of a very few who is openly “out”.  You have been a source of inspiration on many occasions. 

I live in Los Angeles and have a wife, child, and dog. I watch your show when I get the chance, not because you are a lesbian, but because you are a truly gifted comedian. You carry a light and laughter with you that are infectious and I’m sure there have been days when being funny is the furthest thing from your mind. Living a life openly in the ways that you do can’t always be easy but I know from experience that living in your truth disarms the world and enables you to be free from everyone. To that, you are lucky, more than most.

I am writing to thank you for proudly, beautifully, and openly living your life the way you want to live it for everyone to watch. Seeing your and your wife’s beautiful faces on your wedding day in People Magazine was gorgeous. You have put stunning, charming, relatable faces on the enemies that people have made of the gay community. By being exactly who you are, you are opening our eyes –gay or straight –to how the world should look. 

Seeing your show, watching you hold hands with Portia and discuss her book while referring to her so lovingly as your wife, is validation to gay people everywhere that they can be who they want to be. I remember watching Dr. Phil a couple years back and seeing his wife sit quietly on the sidelines supporting her husband and commenting occasionally. It seemed so “traditional”, so “Leave it to Beaver” and now when Portia appears on your show, I am comforted and proud to be gay.

The voice a celebrity has, whether you like it or not, is powerful and life altering and you will go down in history as someone who has made a most amazing mark on our community.  You and Portia both are truly remarkable human beings living an inspired honest life full of love, and that love is infectious and tugs at heartstrings around the country. To watch the two of you singing “I Got You Babe” on national television made me teary, realizing how shameful I have been without even knowing it.

I live in a liberal area of LA; I face little to no discrimination; I have support from my family and my in-laws, and yet there are days when I feel small and shameful. I hate those days but they come from deep inside, grappling with being a minority and not having many role models. I have been a trail blazer on my own path, the first among our gay friends to get married, to have a kid, to become domestic partners, and these things, although amazing, have been lonely without many on our path. 

To watch you and your wife, sharing our story, in the public, adored by many, your hearts on your sleeves, your spirits bright, your intentions good…you are gorgeous and should be celebrated and thanked. So thank you both for doing the simplest of things: loving one another –and not being afraid of what that will mean. I know that there will be a day, hopefully in my daughter’s lifetime, that a letter like this will not be necessary, but for now, I’m celebrating that you are you!