Story at a glance
- Last night, Kate McKinnon presented Ellen DeGeneres with the Carol Burnett Award at the Golden Globes.
- McKinnon tearfully thanked DeGeneres for fighting for better LGBTQ+ representation in television.
- As LGBTQ+ youth are marginalized in the U.S., McKinnon joins DeGeneres in fighting for inclusion.
When actress and comedian Kate McKinnon ascended to the stage to award Ellen DeGeneres the Carol Burnett Award, a lifetime achievement accolade, she fought back tears as she applauded and thanked DeGeneres for her brave efforts to bring LGBTQ+ people into mainstream television.
This is significant for both DeGeneres and McKinnon. While the latter is primarily known for her effortless interpretations on “Saturday Night Live,” which are equal parts outrageous and accurate, McKinnon is also a vocal member of the LGBTQ+ community.
Presenting the Carol Burnett Award to DeGeneres — a new award that is “presented annually to an honoree who has made outstanding contributions to television on or off the screen” — McKinnon spoke candidly about the impact DeGeneres’s coming out had on her as a young teen.
Wondering if she was gay back in 1997, McKinnon said that “the only thing that made it less scary was seeing Ellen on TV.”
According to the Human Rights Campaign, 42 percent of LGBTQ+ youth in America say they live in a community that is unaccepting of LGBTQ+ people, and statistics further say that they are twice as likely to be physically bullied or assaulted.
McKinnon further acknowledged the tribulations DeGeneres faced in her career because of her sexual orientation, nothing that “Of course, attitudes change, but only because brave people like Ellen jump into the fire to make them change,” and concludes with that heartfelt sentiment that “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.”