Ellen DeGeneres honoured with Presidential Medal of Freedom


Comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres is one of a number of high profile Americans to be awarded the nation’s highest civilian honour in a ceremony last week.

DeGeneres was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama, who thanked the out comedian for inspiring the nation “one joke and one dance at a time.”

“Ellen DeGeneres has a way of making you laugh about something rather than at someone – except when I danced on her show,” President Obama said.

DeGeneres made history in 1997 when she came out as gay on the cover of Time Magazine, while simultaneously coming out in character on her self titled sitcom Ellen. 

“It’s easy now… to forget just how much courage was required for Ellen to come out on the most public of stages almost 20 years ago,” President Obama continued.

“Just how important it was – not just to the LGBT community but for all of us to see somebody so full of kindness and light – somebody who we liked so much. Somebody who could be our neighbour or our colleague or our sister challenged our own presumptions and reminded us that we have more in common than we realise.”

DeGeneres was the only out nominee among over a dozen other recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom this year – including Diana Ross, Tom Hanks, Robert DeNiro, Frank Gehry, Michael Jordan, Lorne Michaels, Robert Redford and Bruce Springsteen.

Watch Ellen DeGeneres receive the medal below.

OIP Staff


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