San Francisco, California -- Oasis Magazine and !OutProud!, The National Coalition for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth have released the first group of more than 60 reader stories about how Ellen DeGeneres being TV's first openly lesbian character has personally affected queer youth, their families and other youth advocates.
The "Save Ellen" Campaign has resulted in nearly 200 signatures in its first two weeks, which were faxed to the heads of ABC and Disney Tuesday. A fax with new signatures will be sent to ABC/Disney each week. The petition and story campaign began as a result of the first-ever survey of queer and questioning youth on the Internet.
The survey found that ten percent of the queer youth watching the "Coming Out" episode of Ellen gained the courage, from watching the show, to come out for the first time. This finding provided the basis for Oasis and !OutProud! to launch the Save Ellen campaign at http://www.oasismag.com/save-ellen/, to help protect this valuable resource for queer youth.
"When Ellen DeGeneres came out both in real life and on her sitcom, it was a defining moment for an entire generation of queer youth. No longer did youth have to search to find someone like them, as Ellen came into their living room every Wednesday," said Jeff Walsh, editor and publisher of Oasis Magazine. "The most amazing part of the process is that Ellen never became a soapbox for the gay community, but just an amazing sitcom which featured gay issues naturally."
The survey also found that:
A summary report of responses from the survey, which included more than 150 questions and ran from August 15 through October 31, 1997, can be viewed online or downloaded as a 60-page report at www.oasismag.com/survey/.
Oasis Magazine is read by over 40,000 people online each month, and is the oldest and most widely-read publication for queer youth. !OutProud!'s resources, which include the QueerAmerica online and Lambda Youth Network referral services, and Channel Q News, are used by more than 100,000 unique individuals on the Internet and America Online each year.
Oasis Magazine can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org; (415) 487-9477; http://www.oasismag.com/.!OutProud! can be contacted at email@example.com; http://www.outproud.org/.