March 4, 1997
ELLEN COMES OUT OF THE CLOSET ON APRIL 30
GLAAD applauds ABC and Disney for history-making move
LOS ANGELES, MARCH 4, 1997- Following a successful nationwide campaign organized by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), ABC-TV announced this week that Ellen DeGeneres' title character on her popular sitcom Ellen will reveal that she is a lesbian. The landmark "coming out" episode is scheduled to air on the network on Wednesday, April 30, 1997, during the show's original 9:30 PM timeslot. According to GLAAD, this move by ABC will make television history. Ellen Morgan, the character played by DeGeneres, is the first-ever lesbian or gay lead in an American television sitcom. In the episode, Ellen Morgan finds herself attracted to an old college chum's lesbian friend (played by Laura Dern) and begins to explore her own sexual orientation. Oprah Winfrey will guest star as Ellen's therapist who helps her understand her feelings and to come out. "After months of speculation, ABC, Disney and the producers of Ellen have taken a decisive stand for programming that reflects the true America, which includes lesbians and gay men," said GLAAD's Entertainment Media Director Chastity Bono. "The public has voiced their desire to see Ellen Morgan come out, and now we can finally celebrate this truly groundbreaking event." GLAAD maintains an "Ellen Watch" World Wide Web site at http://www.glaad.org. GLAAD is the nation's lesbian and gay news bureau and the only national lesbian and gay media watchdog organization. GLAAD promotes fair, accurate and inclusive representation as a means of challenging discrimination based on sexual orientation or identity.
About GLAAD: GLAAD amplifies the voice of the LGBT community by empowering real people to share their stories, holding the media accountable for the words and images they present, and helping grassroots organizations communicate effectively. By ensuring that the stories of LGBT people are heard through the media, GLAAD promotes understanding, increases acceptance, and advances equality. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org or connect with GLAAD on Facebook and Twitter.