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"ELLEN" SHOW ATTACKED BY AMERICAN FAMILY ASSOCIATION

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The Show:

Ellen DeGeneres is the star of the TV sitcom Ellen, who plays the role of the likable, chronically confused, unassertive owner of a book store. It can be seen on Wednesdays over the ABC network. She is a lesbian in real life. At the start of the season, word "leaked" out that the character "Ellen" was going to gradually come out of the closet on the show. The episodes have included the occasional hint of her character's homosexuality: she was seen emerging from a closet with a cute comment; she came within a hairsbreadth of coming out to her parents, implying that she had a lifelong secret. But at the last moment, she confessed that she is left-handed.

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American Family Association

When the word Family appears in the name of an organization, there is a significant possibility that the group is a Fundamentalist Christian organization that is profoundly homophobic, and opposed to equal rights for all families.

The American Family Association was founded in 1977 by Donald E. Wildmon when he "became angry one night because all of the TV programs he tried to watch contained sex...." They maintain an extensive media monitoring service which identifies the main corporate sponsors which fund programs with a high "filth" content. They equate all references to human sexuality as filth. Any realistic, sympathetic portrayal of gays or lesbians is interpreted as promoting the gay lifestyle.

Their Email address is [email protected]; their WWW page is at http://www.afa.net. They offer free complimentary trial subscriptions to their monthly journal.

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The Boycott

The American Family Association has sent postcards to its 750,000 members pre-addressed to two of the show's frequent sponsors: PepsiCo and VISA. The cards say in part:
"Now...Disney/ABC may bring the lead character Ellen's lesbianism out of the closet for America's families. While we feel homosexuals and lesbians have dignity and worth as fellow human beings, we don't feel homosexuality/lesbianism should be promoted on television as a normal, alternative life-style. It is not natural and it is not healthy. I am asking Visa [or PepsiCo] not to sponsor 'Ellen's' promotion of such."

Their campaign seems to make a number of invalid points:
bullet Portrayal of a lesbian character equals promotion of homosexuality. Behind this assertion is the false belief that sexual orientation is somehow catching - if gay and lesbian characters are portrayed accurately then some viewers will decide to change their sexual orientation. In reality, one's sexual orientation is unchangeable
bullet Homosexuality is not normal. It is definitely not normal for over 90% of the human race, but then heterosexuality is not normal for the rest.
bullet Lesbianism is unhealthy. A comparison of statistics for AIDS and other STDs shows that lesbians are far healthier than heterosexual women.
bullet Lesbianism is a life-style. This implies that sexual orientation is a choice. It isn't, as any adult, homosexual or heterosexual, can figure out for themselves. A person only has to ask themselves how to go about changing the people to whom they feel sexually attracted, to the opposite gender.

You may wish to contact:
bullet Roger Enrico, Chair, PepsiCo, Inc., 700 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, NY 10577-1444, and
bullet Carl Pascarella, President, VISA USA, P.O. Box 8999, San Francisco, CA 94128-8999.

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