Part 1: Our Hall of Fame

Any celebration of the The Advocate's founding in 1967 must honor the heroes for LGBT rights that we've covered for 45 years. With one honoree named per year, the list will be announced in parts and culminate in an event in Los Angeles this month.

BY Advocate Contributors

March 14 2012 1:00 AM ET

HEROES 1997 ELLEN DEGENERES X560 | ADVOCATE.COM

In an interview with Diane Sawyer on Primetime Thursday, Rosie O’Donnell came out and used her fame as the “Queen of Nice” to draw attention to laws banning adoption for same-sex couples.

O’Donnell and her former partner had tried to adopt a child in Florida and came up against a ban there. So she decided to fight in the way she knew best — via television and other media. O’Donnell had earned six consecutive Daytime Emmys as an enormously likable talk show host. And so she easily commanded the media spotlight.

She used her star power again when San Francisco began defiantly marrying same-sex couples in 2004, attracting throngs of cameras as O’Donnell and her partner joined in. Meanwhile in Washington lawmakers were considering President Bush's Federal Marriage Amendment to ban same-sex marriage. Even now, O’Donnell’s new show on the Oprah Winfrey Network, The Rosie Show, calls out injustices against LGBT people and highlights positive stories.

When Florida’s governor finally said in 2010 that the ban would stop being enforced, O’Donnell was to the point: "After 33 years, it's about time.”
—Lucas Grindley

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