Ellen comes out of closet, her TV character to follow suit April 30

LOS ANGELES -- Ellen DeGeneres, star of ABC-TV's Ellen, "came out of the closet" today in the April 14th issue of Time magazine. Ellen Morgan, the title character on the television program that bears her name, will also announce she is a lesbian on the show's April 30th episode. The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) congratulates Ms. DeGeneres and pledges continued support for her and her television show.

According to GLAAD, DeGeneres is Hollywood's first major television superstar to come out as gay, lesbian or bisexual. DeGeneres follows other television celebrities that paved the way for today's announcement, including Party of Five's Mitchell Anderson, Frasier's Dan Butler, The Larry Sanders Show's Scott Thompson and Married...With Children's Amanda Bearse. DeGeneres joins the out-and-proud ranks of pop and sports superstars like k.d. lang, Melissa Etheridge, Elton John, Martina Navratilova, Greg Louganis and RuPaul.

"GLAAD applauds Ellen DeGeneres' courageous decision to come out," said Chastity Bono, GLAAD's entertainment media director. "Ellen's deeply personal decision will enable her to move forward and break new ground both personally and professionally."

In Time, DeGeneres described her coming out as "the most freeing experience," and Chastity Bono expects Ellen's announcement will help lesbian and gay Americans, young and old, to shut their closet doors behind them. "Ellen's coming out serves as a highly visible example for lesbians and gay men who are struggling in the closet and will open up closet doors for them," added Ms. Bono.

Last week GLAAD launched the official "Come Out With Ellen" World Wide Web site (located at www.glaad.org) and announced its "Come Out With Ellen" viewing parties, which will take place on April 30th in cities nationwide. A GLAAD "Come Out With Ellen" kit will be provided to fans interested in throwing "Come Out With Ellen" house parties by calling GLAAD at (800) GAY-MEDIA.

GLAAD is the nation's lesbian and gay news bureau and the only national lesbian and gay multimedia watchdog organization. GLAAD promotes fair, accurate and inclusive representation as a means of challenging discrimination based on sexual orientation or identity.

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