Ellen DeGeneres' opening monologue is usually a collection of hilarious anecdotes, but yesterday she used her platform to address anti-LGBT laws in the state of Mississippi.
In true Ellen style she still managed to inject her humour into the subject matter, “What I really want to talk about today is what happened in Mississippi. I don’t know what Mr Sippi is doing but I’m really worried about Mrs Sippi”.
But when addressing the denial of marriage, adoption, foster care services, rental or sale of property and job security to LGBTQI people due to religious beliefs, Ellen had this to say:
“I’m not a political person, I’m really not. But this is not politics, this is human rights. And when I see something wrong I have to talk about it. It’s the same thing I feel when I see men in spandex in the line at Starbucks. It’s wrong and I need to say something. That is the definition of discrimination. That is also something the Supreme Court already ruled on when they made marriage a right for everyone”.
Then she used an adorable metaphor involving cupcakes and flowers and gay people that basically ends with telling Mississippi to stop discriminating. Simple.
Ellen also reached out to her fellow southerners, “If you’re in Mississippi or North Carolina or anywhere and you’re saddened by the fact that people are judging you based on who you love, don’t lose hope. I was fired for being gay and I know what it feels like. I lost everything but look at me now”.
While Ellen admits she's not a political person this isn't the first time she's spoken out on LGBTQI issues. Here are some of her memorable moments as an LGBTQI rights activist.
1. When Ellen got into a Family Feud
Ellen was none too impressed when Family Feud contestant Mike Sutton thought "Something everybody knows about Ellen" was that she didn't like her country. Just to make matters clear, Ellen said, "...if you could update the listings to say Ellen DeGeneres loves America, that would be wonderful. And other countries. Actually I love the planet, just include everyone there”.
2. When she questioned Caitlyn Jenner's marriage equality views
After coming out as a transgender women, Caitlyn Jenner joined Ellen to discuss her politics and positions on a variety of issues. Jenner's response to marriage equality was, “I’m a traditionalist. I’m older than most people in the audience. I kind of like tradition, and it’s always been a man and a woman. I’m thinking, ‘I don’t quite get it.’” Let's be real, like Ellen, we don't get your position either Jenner.
3. When she thanked President Barrack Obama for his push for LGBTQI rights
Fighting back tears throughout the interview, Ellen said, “I cannot tell you, or thank you enough, for what you’ve done for the gay community... So, thank you”.
4. When conservative pastor Larry Tomczak experienced her strong clap back game
After Larry Tomczak said the above about Ellen, she went on the front foot and let him have it. Ellen responded with: "First of all, let's just break this down, I'm not 'married,' I'm married. That's all. Larry, the only way I'm trying to influence people is to be more kind and compassionate with one another. That is the message I'm sending out. I don't have an agenda."
5. When she spoke out on marriage equality
Last year at NBCUniversal's Television Critics Association she said: "We need everyone on our side. We're kind of trying to do this march, and we just need people that believe in equality and believe in fairness and love. So if we have people that will join us and give us that, which is only fair to have the same rights that everybody else has, then it's a wonderful world."
6. When she told Oprah about coming out on her television show Ellen
On Oprah's Masterclass, Ellen admitted, “To say that sentence out loud, in front of a whole bunch of people is scary as hell — and emotional and empowering — which is why most people cry when they tell their parents or tell anybody”. Ellen continues, “Just saying those words ‘I’m gay,’ it takes a long time to say it without emotion.”