Sunday night’s 2020 Golden Globes featured a very emotional lesbian moment. Kate McKinnon presented Ellen DeGeneres with the Carol Burnett Award for Achievement in Television, and the “Saturday Night Live” comedian had to hold back tears during her speech.
McKinnon began her introduction with a few jokes, then described how DeGeneres’ coming out in 1997 helped her accept her own gayness and inspired her career.
“In 1997, when Ellen’s sitcom was at the height of its popularity, I was in my mother’s basement lifting weights in front of the mirror thinking, ‘Am I gay?’ And I was. And I still am,” McKinnon said. “But that’s a very scary thing to suddenly know about yourself. It’s sort of like doing 23andMe and discovering you have alien DNA. And the only thing that made it less scary was seeing Ellen on TV.”
DeGeneres came out in a 1997 episode of her sitcom “Ellen.” The series was canceled one season later. McKinnon explained that DeGeneres risked her life and career to come out at that time, “and she suffered greatly for it.”
“Of course, attitudes change, but only because brave people like Ellen jump into the fire to make them change,” she said. “And if I hadn’t seen her on TV, I would’ve thought, ‘I could never be on TV. They don’t let LGBTQ people on TV.’ And more than that, I would’ve gone on thinking I was an alien and that I maybe didn’t even have a right to be here. So, thank you, Ellen, for giving me a shot at a good life.”
McKinnon is also a trailblazer in her own right. She became the first out lesbian to join the cast of “Saturday Night Live” in 2012.
The comedian also joked about other gifts that DeGeneres has given her, like her “best collared shirts,” a shirt with a baby goat on it, and two pairs of Stan Smith sneakers.
— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) January 6, 2020