Today, Oprah shed light on a topic that she has become a pioneer for on daytime talk TV: coming out. Over the years, spanning countless episodes, Oprah has helped many people come out, facing the obstacles in their lives and careers to come to terms with who they are. These shows have earned her numerous GLAAD awards and nominations including hitting this year’s nomination list.
Today’s episode served as a retrospective, looking back at the guests she has had that came out, shared the stories and even shocked some viewers and herself. The show began with a look back at Olympic athlete Greg Louganis who not only struggled with dealing with his sexuality, but also being HIV positive. After being on the show in 1995, a 12 year old male was changed by the message he sent out. He appeared on the show today to share his story and Greg came on stage to surprise him.
Greg and Oprah discussed how much has changed in the country in terms of acceptance on the show since his appearance. They celebrated in the fact that their are so many more gay figures on television and in popular culture portraying real life gay couples in family situations. Greg’s health is great and he discussed his drug regiment with Oprah saying he wouldn’t wish it on anybody.
In 2006, a husband and wife (Joe and Chris) came on the show and discussed how after seven years of marriage, they opened up to each other that each were gay. This shocked the viewers on the day with a resounding gasp and Oprah even admitted it shocked her. On the show today, they discussed how their relationship is still strong and with the kids grown up, they are supportive of their parents as well.
After watching Chris and Joe’s episode, a married psychologist and certified life coach couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Then, one year later in 2007, Jodie went to a convention and fell in love with a woman. A year later, she garnered the courage to talk to her husband who in turn, was also gay. The two shared two young daughters together and discussed how they help give the girls the vocabulary to understand how lucky they are to have so many parents that love them. Jodie is now with the woman she fell in love with at the convention and Charlie is married to his partner as well.
In 2007, an Indian Prince came out to the world that he was gay and was shunned by his royal family. On the Oprah show, he discussed the coming out trials and tribulations he was going through including the time his Queen Mother put an ad out in the local newspaper stating that if anyone mentioned that he was her son, she would condemn them. Wow. Today on the show, he talked about how his mother still doesn’t speak with him but doesn’t create obstacles in his life anymore. His father is more accepting and even comes to his luncheons in support of gay affairs in India. Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil also explained to Oprah that now, gay activities are no longer grounds for 10 year to life in jail because of the help with his appearance on Oprah. Amazing.
Kim and Amanda rounded off the show with the story of a mother who when told by her 10 year old daughter that she was gay, couldn’t accept the fact and allowed her daughter to live with her grandmother. After appearing on the Oprah show, Kim still was having a hard time accepting Amanda’s sexuality. Oprah set up a meeting with her chief of staff, Libby to help Kim come to terms with it. She wanted to show Kim that Amanda could grow into a strong, successful lesbian woman just as she had. Now, Amanda and Kim’s relationship is strong now and Kim admits that it took her a while but is now so proud of her daughter.
Did you check out today’s episode of Oprah? What did you think of change in acceptance over the years as they showed archived clips? Here’s to Oprah for being a pioneer of gay rights when no one else would stand up. Very deserving of everything GLAAD award she has won.