Obama: DeGeneres’ courage to come out 20 years ago“It’s easy to forget now just how much courage was required for Ellen to come out on the most public of stages 20 years ago.”
Barack Obama admits to getting “kind of choked up” as he presents Ellen DeGeneres with the USA’s highest civilian honour, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Posted by Channel 4 News on Tuesday, November 22, 2016
President Obama hosted his last Presidential Medal of Freedom Ceremony on Tuesday, honoring 21 luminaries for their contributions to the United States of America.
Obama has awarded 114 Medals of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honour, in total – more than any previous President. But perhaps one of the most notable has been Ellen DeGeneres, who Obama admitted to getting ‘choked up’ over as he handed her the award.
Praising Ellen for coming out as gay in a time where doing so could have cost her her career, he said:
It’s easy to forget now just how much courage was required for Ellen to come out on the most public of stages 20 years ago.
He also said her bravery was important not only for the LGBT community, but helped ‘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.
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 break the mood because I was getting kind of choked up.
Obama also bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom, to some of the country’s best known performers, scientists and athletes including Tom Hanks, Diana Ross, Bruce Springsteen, Robert De Niro and Michael Jordan.
Describing Hanks as ‘America’s dad’, Obama said:
Tom has always saved his best role for real life. He is a good man, which is the best title you can have.
Amazing. Just another reason to love Barack Obama.