Ellen Degeneres and Barack Obama

Ellen DeGeneres thanked President Obama today during a visit to her show for “what you’ve done for the gay community.”

During his appearance Ellen thanked President Obama for his work on advancing equality in the United States and for the amazing support he has shown the gay community. Under his initiative, the Supreme Court legalised same-sex marriage in the US in June of 2015.

But being the honest and open man that he is, Obama turned the conversation back to Ellen. He credited her for “changing hearts and minds” on LGBT issues.

“I will say, we were driving over here today – and I meant this.  I said it to my staff – I said, as much as we’ve done with laws and ending ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ et cetera, changing hearts and minds – I don’t think anybody has been more influential than you on that,” he told Ellen. “I really mean that.”

Obama praised her “courage,” which dates back to following her decision to come out in 1997, and ABC cancelling her sitcom just one year later.

“You being willing to claim who you were, that suddenly empowers other people,” the president said. “And then suddenly, it’s your brother, it’s your uncle, it’s your best friend, it’s your coworkers. And then attitudes shift.  And the law is followed, but it started with folks like you. I’m so proud of you.”

Ellen deflected all the praise and quipped, “Well, thank you. I’m not really gay. I just thought it would work and I had to stick with it because people respond,” which was met with wild applause from the studio audience.

The president was quick to reply, “But, on TV, you play one and it’s great.

Her popular daytime talk show is now in its 13th year. The show has just been awarded a renewal deal which will see it remain on air until 2020.

We wholeheartedly agree with the president. Ellen opened the doors to people accepting LGBT individuals for who they are. She helped us see that LGBT people are ordinary people just like everybody else, and are in our communities, our workplace, our circle of friends, and within our families. So, thank you, Ellen. You deserve all the recognition the president just gave you, and more.

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