It was a good night for LGBT+ representation at the annual Golden Globe Awards, but the most touching moment was when Saturday Night Live comedian Kate McKinnon presented an award to Ellen Degeneres and praised her for making it “less scary” to grow up gay.
Announcing the recipient of the Carol Burnett Award for outstanding contributions to television on or off the screen, Kate McKinnon, herself an out lesbian, shared what it meant to a young LGBT+ to have positive representation on television.
During an emotional speech, she said, “In 1997, when Ellen’s sitcom was in the height of its popularity, I was in my mother’s basement lifting weights in front of the mirror and thinking, ‘Am I gay?’ And I was, and I still am. But that’s a very scary thing to suddenly know about yourself. It’s sort of like doing 23andMe and discovering that you have alien DNA. And the only thing that made it less scary was seeing Ellen on TV.”
McKinnon continued, “She risked her entire life and her entire career in order to tell the truth, 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. And if I hadn’t seen her on TV, I would have thought, ‘I could never be on TV. They don’t let LGBT people on TV.’
“And more than that, I would have gone on thinking that 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. A shot at a good life.”
— NBC Entertainment (@nbc) January 6, 2020
Upon accepting the award, Degeneres, in turn shared, “I’ve had an incredible life full of wonderful moments. This one was something really special.”
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) January 6, 2020
In a ceremony that held a few surprises – 1917 seemingly coming out of nowhere to win Best Picture Drama and Best Director for Sam Mendes against heavyweights The Irishman and Marriage Story – LGBT+ stories were represented.
Taron Edgerton won Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy for his portrayal of Elton John in Rocketman, while Elton himself and songwriting partner Bernie Taupin also won for best original song – the first time the duo had ever won an award together in their 52-year partnership.
The was no shock as the biopic of queer icon, Judy Garland, saw Renee Zellweger continue to lock down an eventual Oscar win by taking home Best Actress for her portrayal of the lady herself in Judy.
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