Do The Gays Owe Oprah? Hmm… What Did She Ever Do For Us?

If you didn’t catch the farewell speech for Oprah‘s final episode, you can either skip to 1:08 ion the video above and hear her thank you to gay viewers or you can sit down like a grateful human being and take in all two minutes and 48 seconds of her love.

Maybe you never tuned into Oprah, maybe you even hate her a little for being so… damned… nice. Make no mind, her goodbye will still make you misty (don’t cry, girl. Oprah loves you).

There, did you have a good “ugly cry”? Well good. Now we’re done let’s ask ourselves, in The Oprah Winfrey Show’s 25-year run, what did she do for us gays? Let’s take a look.

Tabloid lesbian Oprah Winfrey hosted more than 120 episodes “devoted to telling the stories of LGBT people.” Sure, that’s only .38 percent of 4,561 shows, but still.

She hosted the 1997 episode when Ellen DeGeneres came out. She had Chaz Bono discuss his transition, Meredith Baxter explain closeted life on Family Ties, had Ricky Martin talk about being a quasi-bisexual DILF, and Chely Wright discuss what it’s like to be more famous for your lesbianism than for your music.

Just kidding, Chely. They actually had a really excellent talk about Wright’s closeted homophobic taunts and heterosexual dating habits.

In 1995 she dove into Greg Louganis‘ HIV. She talked to a closeted daughter whose mom discovered her gettin’ lesbo-freaky. In 2007 she had gay Indian Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil discuss his HIV work and his psychotically un-accepting parents. She even once had a husband-wife couple simultaneously come out on her showwe know, raight? Cray cray!

And y’know what, in all instances Oprah was like, “It’s really about honoring the truth of who you are, and if you can’t do that, you die a little death every day…your willingness to be truthful about who you really are opens up enormous possibilities.”

And that’s probably the best thing she did for us. She exposed viewers of all ages to queer issues in smart, sophisticated ways that gave “a voice to those that might not otherwise be heard.”

She didn’t frame our issues, she didn’t condescend, or tell us what to think. She simply let us tell our own stories and then shared her thoughts. And in listening and supporting her gay and lesbian guests, she also showed countless others how to treat us as well.

So do we owe her? Yeah. How do we repay her? We dunno. Did anyone happen to DVR her Favorite Things episode?

Image via

[UPDATE: Our apologies for using the incorrect pronoun with Chaz! The individual responsible has now been personally slapped by Gayle King.]

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  • TJ

    I am thrilled she is off network television – she was the most phoney, over rated talk show host, ever. The only person she did anything for was herself. Good riddance to Orca!

  • Karen

    Why are you using feminine pronouns for Chaz Bono? That is pretty nasty of you.

  • SpireaX

    @TJ: And another homo lives up to the “catty queen” stereotype.

  • Mike in Asheville

    Good job Queerty keeping the snarking going, going after our friends instead of our enemies — yeah, that’s the way…


    Queerty, does, however, rightly rant against bullying and name calling. BUT IN A MAJOR DOSE OF “DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO” you still manage to get in “Tabloid Lesbian” and call Chaz Bono a “her”.

  • ewe

    Yes we owe her for finally leaving but i highly doubt that is true either.

  • Daniel

    @Karen: Sorry. My oversight. I’m a dick.

  • Truthful

    Queerty, or rather Daniel Villarreal – this is twice now that you’ve referred to Chaz Bono as a ‘she’, I have a feeling that you’re one of those bitchy, discreetly-transphobic gays. Your hate is not pretty.

  • Daniel

    @Truthful: Know this, ever since I have started working with Queerty, I have regularly sought out trans stories to share here because there seems to be so few trans stories being told in mainstream gay media. I have done two longer in depth-articles on trans issues here as well as short posts throughout the many weeks to examine issues that most websites like Towleroad, Bilerico, and the Advocate don’t even bother with.

    At current, I am about the only writer on this staff who regularly seeks out and posts trans content. I will continue to find and post more because they’re among the most exceptional stories I ever encounter. Ones that challenge, question, and inspire us.

    I have made two mistakes out out many trans posts. Yeah, I should know better and I apologize for my hurtful mistakes, but to insinuate that I’m transphobic and censure me for my so-called “hate” is and unfair, ignorant and undeserved.

    Before you make such assumptions about my character you’d do better to familiarize yourself with my record of actual trans-reporting on this blog.

  • Armand

    I want to thank Oprah for her crass consumerism appeal based upon herself to the masses. Kwanzaa just wasn’t Kwanzaa without the family asking for one of the items on Oprah’s “Favorite Things” segment.

    Let’s not forget Oprah exuding the New Age I-am-Mother-Earth-my-orgasm-speaks-like-the-ocean-mist. She taught me that one does not need religion when we can celebrate our narcissistic selves every freaking day.

    Oprah, I will miss you for the great weave and fabulous slimming outfits during December when most are self-administering laxatives to get that great figure for Christmas.

  • Hyhybt

    Just two things: 1) using a wrong pronoun is very easy to do with no malice intended, without even realizing you’ve done it, even when you’re being careful; and 2) Queerty articles have long been noted for needing one more proofreading pass than they get, no matter how many they may get. If you’re actively looking for something to take offense at, that sometimes gives an opportunity to do so, but it’s meaningless.

    I’ve never been an Oprah watcher, simply because I don’t enjoy that *type* of show, but hers has always been a couple cuts above the others, quality-wise. (Mostly I’d just like a clear copy of the old theme, late 80’s-ish that started off with a whistly-sounding not-quite-flute instrument. But I’m weird that way.)

  • TommyOC

    @Hyhybt: Agreed 100% on both points.

    Specifically, one point 1, I’ve been guilty tons of times of referring to transgenders by a pronoun opposite of what they would prefer – a preference that changes by the person – and definitely without malice intended.

    For the two commenters here to jump off the rail and call Queerty’s author “nasty” for getting it wrong makes me think you’ve got some serious hang-ups you need to work yourself out of. These mistakes aren’t worthy of your wrath.

    But if you get every transgendered person on the planet to sign on to a uniform and official “style guide” for how we should refer to them, I’m gladly join you in grilling those who mislabel people. But until that day, honestly, try not to be so touchy. Calling someone by the wrong pronoun isn’t hate speech. It barely qualifies as ignorance.

    What I’m getting at is there are worse things for a person to call you than the wrong gender pronoun assignment.

    Hell, if I took personal resentment to every drive-thru operator who referred to me as “ma’am,” I guess my “nasty” list would be quite long too. But it isn’t.

    Because it’s an honest mistake. Happens all the time. A lesson you guys need to learn.

  • Pocket

    @Daniel: @TommyOC: @Hyhybt: All of this. Calling someone hateful for an honest mistake trivializes the seriousness of the concept of hatred.

  • Clamydia Jones

    Dat girl iz ridickamous wit all dat talk aboutz the homosexicals as such as and so forths, she is trifflin and tired and she needs to get back to the lawd.

  • me

    You people on hear are all jerks and a disgusting representation of those who are gay! I absolutely loved Oprah and appreciate her class and decency in representing gay people. You guys, on the other hand, are just like the people of Sodom and Gomorrah – wicked and heartless!

  • Pete n SFO

    Seriously… what’s with all the gays clicking through on the Oprah article if they don’t like her, don’t watch her, don’t whatever else…

    I’m sure I can speak for O when she would tell you f’rs to get a life, already.

    I watched the O for years… her real turning point on ‘the gay’ was when Nate’s bf, Fernando, was swept away in the tidal wave.

    Before that ‘the gays’ were decorating, doing hair & make-up, but didn’t really have a voice. After that, everything changed.

  • Tom

    @Daniel: I’m glad that you’re putting together articles about trans people and issues on Queerty. When you slip up with pronouns you apologize and fix it, and explain it wasn’t done out of malice. I don’t think there’s a better way of going about it.

  • Hue-Man

    @Pete n SFO: I clicked through to find the answer to the question posed and was happy to be reminded of the events noted. I’ve never watched her show. (I don’t watch Ellen either unless she has a guest I’m interested in – the rest of the show is not that interesting to me even though I love Ellen.) Oprah seems to have done more LGBT-positive things than some of the other daytime shows.

  • Jeffree

    Oprah did help change hearts & minds: she put the topics out there that many other hosts either blew off or made ridiculous: LGBT stuff, racism, women’s health, addictions, poverty, etc,

    Women across the country, and then the globe, started conversations based on what O talked about, because she brought the subjects up. Many Americans “met” their first gay man or lesbian or trans person on Oprah. She asked the questions that were on other people’s minds.

    That stuff changes opinions more than any 30 second TV ad or brochure.

    For all that I can forgive her the excesses: ninety-four weight loss gurus, celebrity worship, Suze Orman, Dr. Phil [he himself is unredeemable], and $8OO shoes that she can’t even walk in.

  • TheRealAdam

    @Armand: As much as I hate to say this, I agree with your comment. Oprah’s complete narcissistic fakeness and materialism has always stood out. She makes people feel good and that’s fine. She’s good at what she does in that respect. But I’ve never understood why and how people have given her so much power.

  • Eric

    I will miss Oprah because whatever replaces her will not be as good as her. Jerry, Maury, trash! Ellen boring. At least Oprah was a friend of the gay community and while she did push things that is how it works. But you still could come away from her show with something learned that would benefit you in life. I cannot say that for many other talk shows.

  • QJ201

    Ms. O was never “ahead of the curve” on gay issues. She didn’t make the news with gay topics, she covered gay topics already in the news.

  • Ronbo

    I used to like her. Then she started to appear a different person – someone whose money allowed her to, for example, tell her audience to throw away their old-fashioned clothes and purchase brand-new, fashionable clothes. Just throw away all your stuff and buy new stuff. She is clearly out of touch with reality. It’s what excess money does to a human.

    Glad Oprah is gone. She has a good heart – but, it has turned into something that can’t fathom what the little people experience.

  • dvlaries

    Oprah lost me a long time ago.

    In February 1993 she did a primetime, one-on-one exclusive interview and tour with Michael Jackson inside Neverland Ranch. This included a bedroom that looked down to a movie theater for Michael and sleep-over friends to watch movies. Then, as always, the Jackson home was loaded to the rafters with all the lures any pedophile could dream up, if he also had millions and millions to spend.

    Yet this “journalist” and self-professed survivor of childhood sexual abuse proclaims no red flags. Six months later, came the first abuse case, the one Jackson bought his way out of.

    Then throughout 1995, Winfrey chose to be one of the few public figures without an opinion about O.J. Simpson’s guilt.

    So long Oprah. Enjoy your retirement.

  • Terry

    To all the negative and unappreactive people on here, perhaps you disease minded animals are the creatures organizations like NOM, Focus on the Family, the Uganda Bill and individuals like Dean Bradlee have in mind when they spew their anti-gay rhetoric. If so, then I as a gay person myself, stand behind them 100%. You freaks do not belong within any society!

    Thank you Oprah for your dignity in representing gay people as oppose to the freaks commenting on here!

  • Hyhybt

    @QJ201: But she covered them positively… with countless people willing to like whatever she likes.

  • Tony

    I like Oprah. But I have to admit I never felt she had a particular passion for LGBT issues….More of an obligation than a passion to address the injustice, discrimination, and violence and high suicide rates we face. But her show, her right. Just would have been nice to have such a high profile person with such wide reach as an ally.

  • James

    Where is Phil Donahue when we need him? Now he was a true champion of the disenfranchised and way ahead of his time.

  • Chris

    For endorsing The Secret and the latest bull from Dr. Oz, I’d say my revulsion and my obligation to her are balanced out.

  • mattsy

    calling Oprah Orca is mean, but funny

  • Joey T

    First off, Chaz/Chastity Bono is not a tranny. He/She is an A-Hole who is looking for as much publcity as possible in her/his pathetic life. God only knows what it will be 5 years from now. She/he is an ugly troll who needs to go away!!

    Now , on to Oprah, she is a successful media whore who is so into herself that it is nauseating and, NO, she does not deserve our respect for any LGBT work.

  • Frederick

    This is in response to Joey T. (Post No. 30)– bitter, party of one? I can’t believe you called Chaz Bono a “troll who needs to go away.” Can’t you see that it took a lot of courage for him to star in the reality show dealing with his transition? Hopefully, this show will enlighten people as to what a trans person has to go through just to be true to themselves. I believe that coming from the high-profile parents he came from will draw viewers to watch this show and educate them in the process.

    As far as your observation goes that Oprah is a “successful media whore who is so into herself that it is naueating” your vitriolic comment sounds like jealousy/sour grapes to me.

  • Greg

    @Daniel: I was to understand that “Chaz” was born a female, and still has HER vagina. That makes her a “her”.

  • OrchidIslander

    The high levels of bitchiness, vileness and lack of any redeeming character displayed in some of the above posts sickens me.

    Why would anyone want to be part of a “community” with the chafe?


    SMH @ some of these comments. I wasn’t a fan of OPRAH however I did watch her at times and she don’t owe me anything. I don’t understand why gay people feel like SOME str8 people owe us something, I don’t recall no other talk show host who has been overly gay friendly, maybe Wendy Williams, so why should Oprah be any different. @ “Ms. Jones, stereotyping? not a good look.

  • Cary Hartline

    @Frederick I’m not sure if you know that Chaz Bono should just live his life and not drag anyone else into it. The only thing he has going for him is his mother Cher. His transition was nothing exciting and yet he insisted that it was newsworthy. I hate it when celebrities think everything they do is interesting.

  • ynottonycom

    The Oprah Winfrey Network focus on encouraging people around the world to live their “Own Best Life” [with vision & focus & owning it!] while simultaneously making a difference in the lives of underprivileged others.

    Through Oprah’s involvement with the Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa, the tiny town of Williamson, West Virginia, and the “A Secret Sex World: Living on the Downlow” TV segment, she has both removed stigmas & flattened ignorance associated with the AIDS Pandemic.

    Bravo to Oprah!

    NOW OPRAH, you don’t owe anyone anything YET, If you WOULD like to make a 51 yt old gay male & 2,500 AIDS Activist happy, then check this out:

    When 2,500 cycling philanthropist bike 545 miles past the front door of Oprah Winfrey, will she open the door? – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qrr4_5jQoaM

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