She is a 58-year-old white American comedian who came out as a lesbian in America 20 years ago. At that point of time, she was at a peak of her career. But the people who know about her, have seen her grow and follow her ‘The Ellen Show’ would agree that it’s too petty an introduction for Ellen Degeneres.

 Yesterday, 23 November 2016, Ellen Degeneres won the Presidential Medal of Freedom with 21 other exemplary Americans like Robert Di Niro, Tom Hanks, Michael Jordan and the likes; people from different backgrounds and fields. This award was for ‘individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors,’ according to the White House.’

But Ellen’s win was special. There were tears in her eyes. One because of Barack Obama’s speech. He felt choked on stage while introducing her. This is what he said:

“It’s easy to forget now when we’ve come so far, where now marriage is equal under the law—just how much courage was required for Ellen to come out on the most public of stages almost 20 years ago. Just how important it was not just to the LGBT community, but for all of us to see somebody so full of kindness and light, somebody we liked so much, somebody who could be our neighbor or our colleague or our sister challenge our own assumptions, remind us that we have more in common than we realize, push our country in the direction of justice.

What an incredible burden that was to bear. To risk your career like that. People don’t do that very often. And then to have the hopes of millions on your shoulders. But it’s like Ellen says: We all want a tortilla chip that can support the weight of guacamole. Which really makes no sense to me, but I thought would brighten the mood, because I was getting kind of choked up. And she did pay a price—we don’t remember this. I hadn’t remembered it. She did, for a pretty long stretch of time—even in Hollywood. And yet, today, every day, in every way, Ellen counters what too often divides us with the countless things that bind us together—inspires us to be better, one joke, one dance at a time.”

Robert Di Niro Comforting Ellen
Robert Di Niro Comforting Ellen










When Ellen first came out in 1997, it instantly became a subject of controversy. Not just that she was being ask really weird questions about being gay, but even the gay community spoke against her because she was using humour to communicate what she feels. When Ellen went on Oprah Winfrey’s show, she had shared how her father had asked her to leave her own house because her step-mother had young daughters and they didn’t want them to get a ‘wrong influence’.

Her work is adorable. Her show, her books show exactly her style of humour. Why Ellen is just so adorable is because her humour is so giving. It is never on a person. She doesn’t do humour to offend. It is just effortless attempt at making people laugh. And in the end, her humility is known to surpass everything else.

This moment is a personal victory for me as a woman. It teaches me to be strong, confident and ready to bear the consequences if I want to stand up for the thing that affects my life. It is a victory for any person who stands up for what he/she believes in, even if the idea is much before its time, or no one understands it. Even if it takes a lot of courage and even risks leading to their career and future. And it leaves us, people in India with a question, “Until when are we going to stand against the nature that we don’t understand?”


Ellen with wife Portia


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