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Revisiting the Archive: Ellen DeGeneres



So here's the scene. It was four. Pm on Saturday February seventeenth. Two thousand one. I was in the hills above sunset boulevard in Los Angeles standing in the doorway of Ellen's modernist house looking at the video intercom. I was a little nervous. So I took a couple of depressed before I pushed the Buzzer after a while Ellen answered with a Hello. That had a question. Mark embedded in it turns out. She'd forgotten about the interview and I had to explain who I was. And why was there a minute later? Ellen greeted me the door. She really wasn't expecting me. She was dressed in a fleece top over. A t-shirt check Pajama bottoms and thick socks. Her hair was a mess. Not a fashionable bedhead mess a real mess. Ellen was very polite and apologetic as she led me into the living room along the way she introduced me to a very friendly cat a silver black and gray kitty with white paws and a white belly to match. Ellen's living-rooms loft like with lots of glass overlooking a garden. We took our places on a long tope. Mohair SOFA IONS in my backpack. As soon as I got my tape recorder out. Ellen's cat dove in to see what else was inside. I place my tape. Recorder between US ATTACHED THE LAPEL MIC to Ellen's top and oppressed record. Oh he'll join you probably but he's not real affectionate in that way Show up in hill. Walkaway wasn't allowed to do to sit right. The other one's more like that Saturday February seventeenth two thousand and one location. Is The home of Ellen. Generous in Los Angeles California Interviewers Eric. Marcus tape one side. One Citizens Building Ellen. Degeneres E. L. L. E. N. D. E. G. E. N. E. R. E. S. So all right. When did I learn about gay people? I really didn't get involved at all in any kind of politics or any awareness of gay struggles game movement. Anything at all until I came out. Just live my life and and All the way up in till you know I decided to make it public but every everybody knew That I was gay and it wasn't a problem for anybody so I just you know I live my life and I did my work and I think that's what a lot of people Choose to do and just Feel like there's no need to do anything else. It's fine like what's the what's the problem. Why do we need to do anything until you find out about the teenagers and the struggles that that most kids go through in high schools and and the statistics and the gate bashing whether it's verbal abuse physical abuse until you're really Confronted with that you. You don't think that there's a problem to growing up. There was no. We were never called names endeavor. Hassled about now not at all. Not at all. Inter family wasn't too shoe I I didn't know I was gay. I had thoughts of like liking girls. It was very clear to me that I liked girls. But it didn't think it was anything that I could actually pursue and that that was an option for you. I just thought you had a boyfriend. I got married and had a kid but I didn't ever fake it like I didn't pretend to have a boyfriend or anything like that I knew I had to fake it when I was doing standup On stage in your whole goal is to get the audience to really like you and it's hard enough to get them to like you when you're a girl on stage. I knew that that was going to be an uphill battle. If they thought I was gay it was going to be impossible. I had that all the way you know publicly until I came out because I knew that that would hurt my career. What was it that made you think what did you see? It's what I didn't see. I mean I didn't see anyone else that was openly gay and there was obviously a reason for that You you hear about the people that are in the business that are and you see how they handle their Public Persona and So you kind of follow that and when I decided that it was more important to be me and more important to live my life truthfully and to follow what. My Soul's path is that's when a lot of crying started and I realized how much fear and how much pain was a surrounding my sexuality. I didn't have a choice. Became is so big of a thing to me that it didn't matter if I was going to lose all of my money my career. It didn't matter it was what I had to do. And that became more important for the first time then. My career or quick was the process of going from most important to feeling. Like by. Don't say who I am. I can't well who knows how long it had been bubbling but when the the light bulb all of a sudden went off. I think it probably was a matter of a couple of months and I made that decision. I told my riders that that I was Gonna come out and then I wanted the character to come out at the same time so that kind of happened almost and then it took about a year for Disney to say okay. We're going to allow this when they were saying. You know I don't know and and I kept saying to them over and over again you know. You're a huge company. That can just cancel my show and move on and have another show you know. I'm the one that that stands to lose everything and if I'm willing to do this then at least you can be willing to do this. I just didn't care at the time you know if if I would have been fully aware of all the consequences and oh my God the you know the public is going to hate me and the the press is going to attack me and it's going to you know I'm really gonNA lose a lot of people Maybe I wouldn't have done it. You know but I don't think I had a choice and I was naive enough to think. Yeah but okay. They've already seen the show for four years and they know who I am. They like me. I make them happy. I see the response I get. I have people who you know. Love me who are grandmothers and young kids and all colors all ages and they're going to see gay people are not what they you know. Everybody has a certain thing. They cling onto and decide. That's what everybody is and so maybe I can help. Open their

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