Way back in 1997, when I was in high school, Ellen DeGeneres came out…
Way back in 1997, when I was in high school, Ellen DeGeneres came out publicly on the cover of Time magazine. There was huge uproar about her decision to come out. Being gay wasn’t something famous people discussed. If they did, they risked losing job opportunities.
Contrast that with Anderson Cooper coming out this week. He still did it very publicly, but this time, the public response has been quite the opposite. CNN isn’t about to fire him. He’s not going to lose his talk show. And he’s not the only famous gay person on television. I won’t bother listing everyone because it would take up the rest of this post and then some.
It’s remarkable the difference a generation makes – where once, publicly coming out was seen as a career death sentence and there were only one or two gay characters on television (Ricky Vasquez 4 Life!), it is now quite the opposite. In addition, there are movements like It Gets Better, The Trevor Project, and organizations like ours ensuring that teens who come out are supported in their communities rather than shunned.
One generation can be all it takes for major societal change. In 2027, what will happen to make you think, “Can you imagine this taking place in 2012?