her mum's a year younger than my grandad , bless her, hope she has a good birthday
PLATTEVILLE, Wis. -- Author Betty DeGeneres is the University of Wisconsin-Platteville's spring 2011 distinguished lecturer and will appear at 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 30, in the Williams Fieldhouse. The event is free and open to the public.
DeGeneres, a LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) civil rights advocate, is the mother of Emmy award-winning talk show host, actress and comedian Ellen DeGeneres.
A question-and-answer session will follow the lecture at 11 a.m., and a book signing will take place from 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in Heritage Hall of the Pioneer Student Center. DeGeneres' book, "Love, Ellen, a Mother/Daughter Journey," will be available in the University Bookstore until early April.
Telegraph Herald - March 9, 2011
PLATTEVILLE, Wis. -- Ellen DeGeneres announced she was gay at the same time her character on the sitcom "Ellen," came to grips with her sexual orientation. It was big news in 1997, and in April of that year DeGeneres appeared on the cover of Time magazine.
She played the first leading gay character on network TV and ended decades of Hollywood stars leading double lives. Retribution swiftly followed. Advertisers dropped out, she became fodder for late-night talk show hosts, and the show ended one season later.
"She lost her sitcom and practically lost her career because she's a pioneer," Betty DeGeneres, Ellen's mother, said Wednesday at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, prior to giving her Distinguished Lecturer address at Williams Fieldhouse. "As a mother, you go through everything. The heartbreak and concern, and then lots of pride. She had to build it all back. Obviously, that has happened."
Betty DeGeneres, too, is a pioneer of sorts. She is the first heterosexual spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, an organization that works toward equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals.
It wasn't news to Betty in 1997 that her daughter was a lesbian. She was happily oblivious in 1988. At a family gathering on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, Betty and Ellen decided to take a stroll along the beach. At one point, Betty realized Ellen was no longer by her side. She looked back and saw her 20-year-old, girl-next-door daughter in tears.
"Mom, I'm gay," Ellen DeGeneres said.
Betty DeGeneres hugged her crying daughter as miscellaneous thoughts flooded her brain.
"I was not prepared for this, but I loved her," Betty DeGeneres said. "Then, with all of these things running through my mind, a frivolous thought entered. I thought, 'Her engagement picture won't be in the paper.' Well, I think she's more than made up for that engagement picture."
She has been speaking for the Human Rights Campaign for 13 years relating her personal story and as an advocate for equal rights. She quickly emphasizes the word equal, in contrast to special. The right to marry, for instance, brings with it tax and property rights that singles don't enjoy.
"Many couples are affected by this injustice," Betty DeGeneres said. "Couples have been together for 40 and 50 years, and when one of them dies there are no laws to protect them. A family that may have been estranged can come in and take everything. It is so idiotic."
Progress is slow, but she realizes pioneering a cultural shift with roots that are thousands of years old will take time, although she admits her patience wears thin.
"We're stuck in this Puritan mind-set and patriarchal society and it's hard to change that combination," she said. "You go through highs and lows. It's been one step forward and two steps back. The fight goes on."
HanfordSentinel.com - November 3, 2011
Three members of PFLAG Tulare-Kings Counties are in Washington, D.C. starting today to lobby U.S. senators and congressional representatives from California during the national group’s four-day convention.
The 3-year-old chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays meets in Visalia, but serves many Kings County residents. Local members are scheduled to meet with Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, both Democrats, and Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Visalia, to seek support for legislation.
“We’re a support group and we’re educational; I’m hoping this conference will help with that, and lobbying our representatives on some of the legislation that would be useful,” said Dr. Kathryn Hall, a pediatrician from Lindsay.
Tops on the group’s list are the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Students Non-Discrimination Act, aimed at helping build safer schools for their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) loved ones.
“It’s apparent from the data that if schools that have comprehensive anti-bullying policies don’t have specific LGBT policies, they’re not effective,” said Hall, whose grown lesbian daughter, Corinne Ginsberg, will visit from New England with her 8-month-old son, Calvin. “And 90 percent experience harrassment.”
In addition to a day of advocacy on Capitol Hill, chapter board vice president Hall, president Joan Palmer and secretary Cathy Brass will join hundreds of other PFLAG members from around the country, networking and attending workshops on a wide array of topics, including building safer schools, fundraising strategies and issues involving LGBT people in faith communities.
Scheduled for Saturday night is an awards dinner, where longtime PFLAG member Betty DeGeneres, mother of comedienne Ellen DeGeneres, will be the first recipient of the Betty DeGeneres Advocate Award and talk about her work as a straight ally and her life as a mom to a lesbian daughter.
“We are looking forward to advocating for our families and friends,” Hall said.
The three will return home Monday.
Hall said Kings County “has an active LGBT community,” adding “often people in our conservative communities need that kind of support when it comes up in their families.”
Betty DeGeneres weighs in on "Care With Pride".
In a unique and unprecedented move, Johnson & Johnson has teamed with Walgreens to create "Care with Pride." The program offers coupons for products manufactured by Johnson & Johnson and redeemed at Walgreens. The brands represented by Johnson & Johnson are extensive, from Tylenol to Band-Aid and KY to Aveeno, products that consumers use everyday are part of the program.
Betty DeGeneres—mother of Ellen DeGeneres and frequent PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) spokesperson—was chosen as the programs' spokesperson. "This is a wonderful program and goes to a great cause," DeGeneres told Windy City Times. "A portion of each coupon redeemed will go to PFLAG, which then will use it for its 'Cultivating Respect: Safe Schools for All' initiative. Johnson and Johnson will donate up to $300,000."
The coupons are at various Pride events all over the country. "Here in West Hollywood, Walgreens had a huge booth set up giving away the coupon books, sunscreen and other goodies. I think the plan is the same for you in Chicago," said DeGeneres. Those who did not get a coupon book during the recent Chicago Pride Fest can go online and print out coupons.
DeGeneres has been involved with PFLAG since 1997. "I wanted to get involved sooner, but I couldn't have joined then or I would have outed Ellen and that would not have been good. So as soon as she came out of the closet, I joined PFLAG," she said. "This is a wonderful organization, full of loving and caring family and friends. These folks come in shaken, disturbed or whatever other adjective you could use to describe their feelings when they find out someone they love is gay. Then, they hear our stories, calm down and most return finding the support they needed."
Following the reports of bullying in school and the highly publicized suicides of dozens of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered youth, PFLAG began the "Safe Schools for All" initiative. "Bullying has always been with us, and sadly, probably always will be, but we can help," DeGeneres said. "Bullies are nothing more than cowards in disguise. These are insecure people who think they need to 'act tough' so they pick on the smaller, weaker person. I'm not a professional so goodness knows why they do it. Maybe they had a hard home life. Maybe they were bullied at some point," DeGeneres said.
"Now with the Internet, it's just gotten worse," she said. "The bullying is always up there for anyone and everyone to see. Thank goodness for the 'It Gets Better' campaign because it really does 'get better.' As part of the kick-off for the 'Care with Pride' program, they flew us out to New York City to see an advanced screen of Bully. Yes, the movie is disturbing but everyone should see this film."
PFLAG approached DeGeneres to represent the "Care with Pride" program. "I think this is an important issue and any organization that represents unconditional love—well, that just has to be the best, don't you think?" asked DeGeneres.
This year, PFLAG announced the creation of "The Betty DeGeneres Advocate Award" to those who work towards advocacy, education and the achievement of a world of equal rights regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.
"Do you know who they gave that first award to?" joked DeGeneres. "Me. It would be kind of funny if the very first Betty DeGeneres Award went to someone else. I was deeply touched. I've been slowing down on the speaking engagements. But the invitations are just too good to pass up!"
However, DeGeneres was very serious when it came to the issue of young LGBT individuals and bullying: "As the bullying gets worse, we see these young people committing suicide. I'm not sure it has ever been like this before. That's why PFLAG, through its 'Safe Schools for All' initiative, is seeking to put a bright spotlight on this issue. We need to teach schools, administrators and teachers how to recognize bullying and combat it."
Recently, DeGeneres was involved with the ACLU and its efforts to pass an anti-bullying law in California. "I worked closely with the ACLU in Los Angeles and helped announce the efforts," she said. "The law, here in California, which I think is to take effect in July will actually penalize schools that fail to take action against reports of bullying. The parents will have the right to remove their children from the school where the bullying is taking place, unless the school takes action. It's at least a start.
"I'm not sure what to do about bullying once the children become adults. I don't even want to comment since I'm not an expert. But I do think about what Ellen always says at the end of her show, reminding us to be kind to one another. I think that's so important, just remembering to be kind to one another." As for parents of LGBT youth, Betty DeGeneres had words of support and advice: "Be sure you are thinking for yourself and not relying on the opinions of others. We don't each come out of the cookie cutter mold the same way. I have heard awful stories of parents abandoning their own children when they come out. There is no excuse for that."