Kate McKinnon has made an emotional speech about her sexuality during a Golden Globes 2020 appearance.
The Saturday Night Live star, 36, was presenting the Carol Burnett award for lifetime achievement to talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.
McKinnon described the realisation that she was gay as “a very scary thing to suddenly know about yourself”, and thanked DeGeneres for paving the way for LGBT+ individuals in the public eye.
“In 1997, when Ellen’s sitcom was at the height of its popularity, I was in my mother’s basement lifting weights in front of the mirror thinking, ‘Am I gay?’” the comedian 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 you have alien DNA. And the only thing that made it less scary was seeing Ellen on TV.”
The Ghostbusters star said DeGeneres “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.’”
DeGeneres, who revealed she identifies as lesbian in 1997, has spoken about experiencing homophobia in the past at high school.
The year after she came out, her ABC sitcom Ellen was cancelled – although Bob Iger, then CEO of The Walt Disney Company (ABC’s parent company), claimed it was not due to her “gayness”.
McKinnon’s speech has been praised by Twitter users, who called it “touching” and “beautiful”.
— Davida Williams (@DavidaBWilliams) January 6, 2020
The Kate McKinnon tribute to Ellen was really touching. Sometimes helping someone else feel a little safer, a little better about their lives is everything. #goldenglobes2020
— ilyse hogue (@ilyseh) January 6, 2020
Kate McKinnon’s intro was a great reminder that while we can, and should, ask those with the most power to do better when they fall short, it’s undeniable the importance of Ellen’s journey in getting to the place where she has the power she has today.
— Emerson Collins (@ActuallyEmerson) January 6, 2020