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In 1997, being gay on TV was not OK. Ellen and Oprah look back in this emotional clip.

'As long as you stay true to exactly who you are, you will be rewarded in ways that you can’t imagine.'

In 1997, being gay on TV was not OK. Ellen and Oprah look back in this emotional clip.

It's been 20 years since Ellen DeGeneres uttered the words "I'm gay" on her ABC sitcom — and changed the world forever.

That hyped episode of "Ellen," which brought in a whopping 42 million viewers, featured Oprah Winfrey, who played DeGeneres' therapist, and Laura Dern, DeGeneres' love interest, Susan.

On a major network with a mainstream audience, those two emotionally charged words were a groundbreaking moment for gay visibility on TV.  


Photo by Buena Vista, courtesy of Everett Collection.

The live audience had cheered. DeGeneres embraced Susan in a warm hug. It felt like history had been made.

But it's easy to forget how wildly different things were for LGBTQ people in 1997.

Coming out of the closet quickly plunged DeGeneres' career into controversy.

She received death threats — and many. Winfrey was inundated with homophobic and racist calls in the days that followed, too. And Dern? She couldn't find work as an actor for an entire year following the episode.

Photo by Brian K. Diggs/AP.

ABC began slapping an "adult content" warning at the beginning of each episode of "Ellen" that followed. Conservative groups rallied viewers to boycott the show. Ratings nosedived for the once successful series as backlash ensued. About a year after DeGeneres' coming out, ABC pulled the show.

Two decades later, though, it's clear that DeGeneres' initially painful coming out experience has paid off in more ways than one.

In an emotional episode of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" airing on April 28, 2017, DeGeneres invited Winfrey and Dern to revisit that groundbreaking moment.

Over the past two decades, far more queer characters have cropped up on prime-time television, acceptance of LGBTQ people has steadily increased among Americans, and millions of people around the country (and world) have found the courage to come out on their own. Even if it didn't feel like it at the time, DeGeneres' bravery in 1997 played a role in all of it.

"You are responsible for so much of that changing," Winfrey tells DeGeneres in the clip below. "You were the bravest woman ever."

"We’re not supposed to be like somebody else," DeGeneres concludes. "We’re not supposed to act like somebody else. As long as you stay true to exactly who you are, you will be rewarded in ways that you can’t imagine."

Watch the touching clip of DeGeneres and Winfrey below:

You can also check out DeGeneres' emotional interview with Dern as well as the host's teary-eyed personal recounting of her journey since coming out on her YouTube channel here.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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via The Walt Disney Company / Flickr

One of the ways to tell if you're in a healthy relationship is whether you and your partner are free to talk about other people you find attractive. For many couples, bringing up such a sensitive topic can cause some major jealousy.

Of course, there's a healthy way to approach such a potentially dangerous topic.

Telling your partner you find someone else attractive shouldn't be about making them feel jealous. It's probably also best that if you're attracted to a coworker, friend, or their sibling, that you keep it to yourself.

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Courtesy of CeraVe
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"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

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