Boston College’s GLBTQ Leadership Council (GLC) has been Tweeting and Facebook-ing up a storm for the "Ellen2BC" campaign in hopes that Dancing Queen Ellen DeGeneres, who publicly came out on the Oprah Winfrey show in 1997, will come to campus.
If you’re not familiar with her work, DeGeneres’ charm, comedic gift, and willingness to bust a move have earned her a top-rated talk show and even given her the opportunity to break it down with the President and First Lady.
She has also had the opportunity to share her experience as a lesbian in the public spotlight. It is this star power and undeniable charisma that make DeGeneres ideal for raising the profile of the GLBTQ community here on campus.
Jill Claridge, Co-Director of Programming for GLC, says, “Sometimes talking about these topics can be touchy, but Ellen’s humor would help to put students at ease and would draw a large crowd, which is something that GLC events do not always accomplish."
The idea initially came from a joke about what GLC would do with an unlimited amount of resources and the Council just ran with it. Degeneres would be ideal for expanding the reach of GLC, “We thought that Ellen would bring a wider range of students. We also, like many other people, just love Ellen specifically,” says Claridge.
So far, the campaign has focused on getting BC students, alumni, faculty and administrators to sign a letter written to DeGeneres. Claridge thinks a good goal is 5,000 signatures, but in true Christmas spirit “the more the merrier!”
GLC’s central argument in the letter is that Boston College’s Jesuit Catholic identity has often hindered open acceptance of the GLBTQ community on the Heights.
An article by BostonInno includes the letter which notes, “[a]lthough we are progressing, BC continually remains on the Princeton Review’s top 10 list of LGBT-unfriendly universities, and there is so much more work that needs to be done here.”
The council believes Degeneres to be the woman for the job because, “[h]er use of humor would help make the topic of LGBTQ issues more accessible to the BC community, and help us reach a much broader audience,” says Claridge.
DeGeneres notably gave the commencement address at Tulane Univerisity in 2009. She honestly spoke about not going to college and her struggle to forge a career in Hollywood, especially after she came out.
“I decided to come out and make it creative. And my character would come out at the same time, and it wasn't to make a political statement, it wasn't to do anything other than to free myself up from this heaviness that I was carrying around, and I just wanted to be honest. And I thought, ‘What's the worst that could happen? I can lose my career.’ I did. I lost my career,” said Degeneres.
DeGeneres has proven that talent is now more important than sexual orientation. She bounced back from the negative reaction to her coming out. She hosted the Academy Awards, was the voice of Dory in Finding Nemo, judged on American Idol for a year, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show has won 35 Daytime Emmys, among many other accomplishments.
Since 2009, she has even been a Covergirl model! It is a position coveted by so many America’s Next Top Model contestants and it puts her in the high company of T. Swift, Queen Latifah, Christie Brinkley and Rihanna, among others.
For the future, GLC has many ideas for continuing to attract Degeneres’ attention. A package of the GLC’s publications, support love t-shirts, and articles on LGBTQ issues will be sent to DeGeneres. Next semester they wish to create a viral video exemplifying why Ellen should come from students and student organizations—it will probably involve lots of dancing. Students can also write personal letters which explain why they want her to come to campus.
At the end of the day, GLC just wants to “educate students and create conversations,” says Claridge. And I imagine they want to do some dancing too.
If you haven’t already, check out these places to show your support!
Twitter Account: https://twitter.com/Ellen2BC
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Ellen2BC?fref=ts
Sign the Letter!: http://t.co/OIL0aZtg
Or write your own letter! Drop it in the collection box of the GLC cube on the 2nd floor of Maloney.