You may remember last year -- Brokeback Mountain won for best picture, bringing the anguish of the closet to multiplexes across America. Like this year, more people of color were nominated and received awards than ever before. Gay people thanked their partners on national television. More normal size women graced the red carpet.
Melissa Etheridge took us one step farther this year. She, like almost every other nominee, jumped up when her name was called and kissed her partner on the lips. She said "I was kissing her because that's what you do, you kiss your loved one when you win an Oscar, that's what I grew up believing." She thanked her wife and four children during her acceptance speech. I couldn't help but wonder how people around America were reacting, but to me, it seemed perfectly natural. You win an award, you kiss and thank your partner.
But, it was Ellen in her pant suits and sneakers that told you that America was really changing. When she came out in the late 1990s, it made the cover of Time magazine and her show was cancelled. On Sunday night, she owned the auditorium and her sexual orientation was a NON-ISSUE. She and partner Portia Rossi were photographed without comment like all of the other celebrity couples. She was NOT a statement; she was just the emcee. Perfectly natural.
But another step for justice in the world.