I have agreed to pass on her impassioned message for tolerance. Although I cannot speak for Ellen directly it is my understanding that the goal here is to bring awareness to the issue that violence against gays is unacceptable.
As Ellen so clearly points out, gay people continue to be made the brunt of jokes in popular culture which perpuates the notion that we are second-class citizens. This message is reinforced daily in school yards everywhere, with verbal abuse often escalating into physical abuse, and in the case of Lawrence King, even death.
I urge all my readers to forward this post not only to your gay friends but more importantly to the straight people you know. Change will occur when we speak up together on this serious issue. If we join our voices with Ellen's, we will make an incredible roar that cannot be ignored.
UPDATE: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
"...I need to talk to you about something that's really serious and really sad and if you know me, it's hard to talk about sad stuff without getting emotional but this is really important to talk about. On February 12th an openly gay 15-year-old boy named Larry who was an 8th grader in Oxnard, California, was murdered by a fellow 8th grader named Brandon. Larry was killed because he was gay. Days before he was murdered, Larry asked his killer to be his Valentine.
I don't wanna be political, this is not political, I'm not a political person but this is personal to me. A boy has been killed and a number of lives have been ruined and somewhere along the line, the killer Brandon got the message that it's so threatening and so awful and so horrific that Larry would want to be his Valentine that killing Larry seemed to be the right thing to do. And when the message out there is so horrible, that to be gay you can get killed for it, we need to change the message [audience enthusiastically claps; Ellen is very choked up and overwhelmed by the the audience clapping. She's fighting back the tears, takes a deep breath - the audience is still clapping].
Larry was not a second-class citizen, I am not a second-class citizen. It is okay if you're gay [audience erupts in cheers and clapping to show their love and support]. I don't care what people say, I don't care what people think, and I know there are entire groups of people who face discrimination every single day and we're a long way from treating each other equally - all of it is unacceptable, all of it!
But I would like you to start paying attention to how often being gay is a punchline of a monologue or how often gay jokes are in a movie. And that kind of message, laughing at someone 'cause they're gay is just the beginning. It starts with laughing at someone, then it's verbal abuse, then it's physical abuse, and then it's this kid Brandon killing a kid like Larry. We must change our country and we can do it, we can do it with our behavior, we can do it with our messages that we send our children, we can do it with our votes.
This is an election year and there's a lot of talk about change. I think one thing we should change is hate. Check on who you're voting for and does that person really, truly believe that we are all equal, under the law and if you're not sure, change your vote, we deserve better...
[Ellen is very choked up and emotional]
My heart goes out to everybody [her voice breaks] involved in this horrible, horrible incident, the whole... all the families and of course, even, you know, Brandon's life has changed 'cause he did this. So, we're gonna put more information on this, on our web site and we're gonna have a wonderful, fabulous, funny show after this... we'll be back.
Ellen Discusses Lawrence King Murder