Top notch comedian Ellen DeGeneres recently sat down to give a candid interview discussing how coming out is such a huge achievement:
“I was really successful, but I was really just playing a part. And then I’d go home and I’d let a little bit of me out, you know, and have a girlfriend. But the other part of the life was just trying to please everybody else. ‘Cause God forbid they find out who I really am.”
“I just was carrying around this sadness inside and the shame of the fact that I was gay. When I was like, ‘Why am I ashamed of who I am?’”
“My manager at the time said, ‘Well if you’re going to come out, why don’t we make it really interesting. Why doesn’t your character come out.’ And it was the greatest thing that ever happened to me.”
If you remember, I wrote about how Sir Ian McKellen expressed the same feelings of how much of his life got better once he came out and made his life better:
“I learned that coming out was crucial to self-esteem. And I accepted the argument that people who thrived in society’s mainstream and had access to the media could, by telling the truth, help others in the backwaters whose views were never sought and whom society either ignored or abused– These days I daily make this point to anyone who will listen because, when I eventually accepted it on the BBC, it changed my life forever for the better.
I love these stories most and that is why whenever I see them, I signal boost, or make sure it’s mentioned because people look up to these public figures. We all do. We draw from their strength, talent, and determination.
Sharing stories like these shows those still in the closet as well as those that demonize us for being gay, that there is absolutely nothing wrong with us. That if and when we’re ready to fully accept ourselves, how much more there is to gain from life.