Survey: Ellen DeGeneres's coming out had "most impact"

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October 12 2004 12:00 AM ET

A survey
conducted by the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center reveals
that most of its GLBT respondents believe that Ellen
DeGeneres is the public figure who has "had the most
positive impact on society's perception and attitudes toward
lesbian and gay people" by virtue of her honesty about her
sexual orientation. The survey, released in conjunction with
National Coming Out Day, put DeGeneres at the top of the
list with 49% of votes, followed by Rosie O'Donnell and
Congressman Barney Frank tied with 11% each.
"Polls have shown that when an individual knows
someone who is gay or lesbian, that person is far more
likely to support equal rights for the GLBT community," Jim
Key, chief public affairs officer of the LAGLC, said in a
statement. "Because Ellen has been so visible and because
she has such a warm, fun, and caring persona, people feel
like they know her. When she bravely, loudly, and proudly
came out, I'm sure there are many people who suddenly felt
like they 'knew' their first gay person." Fifty-six percent
of respondents also indicated that the media should ask the
sexual orientation of a politician who has supported antigay
legislation.

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