Oprah Celebrates 25 Years of Telling Your Mom About Homogays: Our Favorite Episodes

Yesterday’s Oprah was actually advertised as her “gayest show ever” and it sure was – although Oprah & Gayle’s Yosemite camping adventure was a close second, believe me. You know how sometimes, even when a thing isn’t “gay,” it’s still totally GAY?

Anyhow, this special show about her 25 years of supporting the LGBT community brought back some of her most memorable guests, including the Olympic gold medalist diver Greg Louganis who came out as an HIV+ gay man way back in 1995 and India’s openly gay prince, Manvendra Singh Gohil.

Oprah’s influence on the gay community shouldn’t be taken lightly. Oprah’s prime demo – housewives in Middle America – worship her like a deity and using her show to increase visibility and normalize gay people is more than we could ever ask for. Even as I was preparing this post my mom called me all excited asking if I had my DVR set. Exec Editor Laneia’s mother texted her to let her know about the topic of Oprah yesterday. That’s power people. Let’s not forget that Oprah has also given Rosie O’Donnell a brand new daytime talk show on OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) set to debut in the fall.

Did you know that Oprah actually helped change homosexual laws in India?! See, Prince Manvendra is the only known person of royal lineage in modern India to have publicly revealed he is gay. He came out on Oprah in October 2007, and has since traveled the world as a kind of Indian gay ambassador.

Manvendra credited the big O with helping to change the laws in India regarding homosexuality. Previously, homosexual acts were punishable by 10 years to life in prison. But after he came out on her show and traveled to Australia and Brazil, the publicity made Indians reappraise their thinking about gays and the law was taken off the books. You go Glen Coco!

So, I’d like to take this moment to pull out some of our favorite homosexy Oprah episodes and share with all of you. Most of her theme episodes (with non-celebrity, regular gay commonfolk) aren’t on the internets but they are definitely some of the more memorable shows. Girl, I KNOW you remember watching Wives Confess They Are Gay (featuring a pre-Real L Word Nikki Weiss) after school that day.

+ A Secret Sex World: Living on the Down Low
+ Can You Pray Away Being Gay?
+ Ask Deepak: How to Accept Your Sexuality
+ Accepting Gay Children
+ The Dina McGreevey Interview
+ Free from Life on the Down Low
+ Ted Haggard Talks
+ Chely Wright Comes Out
+ Rosie O’Donnell on Life, Love and Family
+ Why Women Are Leaving Men for Other Women
+ Transgender Families
+ Gender Identity
+ Comedian Carol Leifer’s Midlife Surprise
+ New Faces of HIV/AIDS
+ Same-Sex Parents

Autostraddle’s Fave Homosexy Oprah Episodes

(that we could find on YouTube)

Ellen’s Coming Out Interview, May 1997


Ellen & Portia’s First Joint Interview, Nov 2009


Ricky Martin Comes Out, Nov 2010


Melissa Etheridge & Tammy Lynn, Fall 2003


Adam Lambert, Jan 2010

So, what’s your favorite gay Oprah show?

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Jess is a pop culture junkie living in New York City. She enjoys endless debates about The L Word, Howard Stern, new techy gadgets, DVR, exploring the labyrinth of the Lesbian Internet, memoirs, working out, sushi, making lists, artsy things, anything Lady Gaga touches, traveling, puppies, and nyc in the fall. Find her on Twitter @jessxnyc or via email.

Jess has written 240 articles for us.


  1. later in the ellen degeneres coming out interview from 1997, Ellen is arguing with some dude in the audience who compares homosexuality to adultery and other things we could choose to do but don’t do and she handles it so well, i thought. i could probs watch these videos all day

  2. It broke my heart when Ellen said her step mom made her move out so they could “protect her daughters”.

  3. Ya’ll need to really spend the time and watch the entire Ellen Coming Out (1997) show on YouTube.

  4. I have to admit that I was disappointed by yesterday’s Oprah show. I thought that she would show a segment on Nikki Weiss-Goldstein especially after she appeared on the Real L Word.

  5. The “When I Knew I Was Gay” episode is one of my favorites. It’s the one where the woman caught her daughter and her daughter’s girlfriend together in some compromising position wen the girl was 16. And she had no idea her daughter was gay even though the child had come to her at 10 and said “I think I like girls.” And I have to say it really warms my heart to hear in Thursday’s episode how far Oprah went to help that girls mother understand her by introducing her to her lesbian Chief of Staff so she could have a tangible representation of the kind of successful life her daughter could have.

    That was really awesome and it ended up being just what she needed. My favorite thing from the original episode was when Oprah told the woman “If you have a daughter who has the security and confidence at 10 to come out to you, you can’t do better than that.” Which I think is amazing because you come out to some parents and they come back at you with so many negative emotions. They don’t think about what it took for you to stand in front of them and come out of the closet. They think they’ve lost a good kid and can’t see how being honest with them and wanting them to know you is coming from a very good place.

  6. These make my heart so happy. But…ew. I’ll remember not to read the comments on many of the Oprah articles. Esp. the ‘Pray away the Gay” one. Ugh.

  7. Seriously, where would we be without Oprah and all those brave souls who had the courage to be themselves on national television? To live an authentic life is just about the bravest thing we can do, I think.

    Susan Gabriel
    author of Seeking Sara Summers
    (a novel about falling in love with your best friend)

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