Betty DeGeneres Celebrates Families at Wheelock Half-Year Celebration

January 16, 2007

Betty DeGeneres, the mother of Emmy Award-winning talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, will join us for a new Wheelock College tradition, “Celebrating Families: Half-Year Program,” on January 16.

Betty is a strong advocate of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and family civil rights. She is the author of two books, Love, Ellen: A Mother/Daughter Journey and Just a Mom.

She will kick-off the celebration at 10 a.m. in the Wheelock Family Theatre that will be followed by a faculty and staff panel discussion, “Wheelock Through the LGBT Lens,” at 11:30 a.m. and a “World’s Fair Luncheon” at 1 p.m. at the Brookline Campus.

Ellen DeGeneres made history in April 1997 when she and the character she plays on her show both came out of the closet, becoming the first lead actor and character on network television to honestly acknowledge being gay. After the wonderful response to her daughter's public coming out, Betty decided to become the Human Rights Campaign's (HRC) National Coming Out spokesperson for 1997-98, and continues in that role to this day. HRC's National Coming Out Project is an ongoing campaign to encourage and assist gay people to be honest about their lives; provide guidance to campus groups and individuals dealing with coming out; and sponsor National Coming Out Day events. As the HRC's National Coming Out spokesperson, Betty DeGeneres has appeared in television public service announcements and has spoken throughout the country to promote honesty about being gay or, as in her case, having a gay family member and supporting equal rights for gay people.

Betty currently writes an interview column on

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