It's out talkshow icon Ellen DeGeneres' 60th birthday today! To celebrate this momentous occasion, here are some of our favorite inspiring moments that made Ellen a visible hero for the LGBT community.
5. "The Puppy Episode"
Of course we had to start off this countdown with the moment that made Ellen a household name! During the fourth season of Ellen's eponymous sitcom, her character, Ellen Morgan, came out as a lesbian to her friend Susan (who was played by guest star Laura Dern). This marked the first time that a network sitcom had an openly gay lead character. The episode won two Emmys, a Peabody award, and garnered Ellen a GLAAD Media Award.
4. When she spoke out against Prop 8
Ellen has always been an outspoken LGBT activist, and in 2008 when California's awful antigay Prop 8 legislation passed, Ellen used her platform on her show to talk about it and shed light on why it was so harmful for queer people who wanted the right to legally marry their partners.
3. When Ellen and Portia got married
We were all giddy with excitement when Ellen and actress Portia de Rossi got married back in 2008. In media, positive queer relationships can be very hard to come by, so we're grateful that Ellen and Portia are so visible and proud of their marriage.
2. When she was cast as the voice of Dory in Finding Nemo
For many young people in this generation, their first introduction to Ellen's comedic talents was through her iconic role of Dory the forgetful blue tang fish in Disney/Pixar's popular animated film Finding Nemo. That role was literally made for someone as hilarious as Ellen, and we can't imagine a world without our beloved Dory!
1. When she won her Medal of Freedom
In November of 2016, President Obama presented Ellen with the Presidential Medal of Freedom award (the highest award a US civilian can receive), and in his speech about her, he praised her courageousness and all the work she's done on behalf of the LGBT community. Both he and Ellen got choked up during the ceremony, and we were literally in TEARS as it all went down.
We love you, Ellen!