Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Ellen DeGeneres April 1997: Ellen's Star Comes out, Instantly Creating the First Gay-Centered Sitcom and Inspiring Those Who Would Follow, Including Queer as Folks Robert Gant. (Telling Our Stories)

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Ellen DeGeneres April 1997: Ellen's Star Comes out, Instantly Creating the First Gay-Centered Sitcom and Inspiring Those Who Would Follow, Including Queer as Folks Robert Gant. (Telling Our Stories)

Article excerpt

My first speaking role on television, other than commercials, was in 1994 on an ABC show that had just gotten picked up for a full season. It had been on for 11 episodes with the title These Friends of Mine, and they had just changed the name. So I was on the first episode of Ellen DeGeneres's show that aired under the title Ellen.

Flash-forward to 1997: I was still pounding the pavement in Los Angeles, trying to figure out the whole thing about being gay and being an actor. When I heard that Ellen was coming out, I was excited as hell--there was a buzz coursing through the gay community. And in the back of all of our minds was the thought, What's going to happen? As an actor, how safe is it going to be to be out there and be open?

The night her character came out on Ellen, I was actually working, doing Caroline in the City, and I had to have someone record the show for me. I was really bummed that I couldn't sit and partake in the community experience of watching it. It was absolutely historic.

As a gay actor, I was encouraged by the fact that she had come out and that she was OK. …

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