(Photo Credits: Screengrab from HRC’s Twitter Account)

Openly gay American actress and comedian Kate McKinnon delivered an emotional speech during the recently concluded 77th Golden Globe Awards. She spoke about how being a lesbian was for her growing up and how Ellen DeGeneres had made it “less scary,” and how DeGeneres played a role in “her understanding of herself, and what it means for LGBTQ people to see themselves represented onscreen.”

McKinnon—whom you may know from The Big Gay Sketch Show (2007–2010), Saturday Night Live (2012–present), and Ghostbusters (2016)—presented the Carol Burnett Award to DeGeneres on Sunday night at the Golden Globes for her outstanding contributions to television. She related that in 1997, when Ellen’s sitcom was in the height of its popularity, she was in her mother’s basement lifting weights in front of the mirror and thinking, “Am I gay?” 

Mckinnon said, “And I was, and I still am. But that’s a very scary thing to suddenly know about yourself. It’s sort of like doing 23andMe, and discovering that you have alien DNA. And the only thing that made it less scary was seeing Ellen on TV.”

She added, 

“She risked her entire life and her entire career in order to tell the truth, and she suffered greatly for it. Of course, attitudes change, but only because brave people like Ellen jump into the fire to make them change. And if I hadn’t seen her on TV, I would have thought, “I could never be on TV. They don’t let LGBT people on TV.” And more than that, I would have gone on thinking that I was an alien and that I maybe didn’t even have a right to be here. So thank you, Ellen, for giving me a shot. A shot at a good life, and thank you also for the sweater with a picture of the baby goat on it.”

Apart from Ellen DeGeneres, other winners at the Golden Globe included Elton John & Bernie Taupin, their song “I’m Gonna Love Me Again” from Rocketman won the Best Original Song for Motion Picture. Rocketman’s Taron Egerton also bagged the best actor award (motion picture for musical or comedy) while Renée Zellweger won the best actress award for Judy (motion picture for drama). Check the complete list of winners here.