The 2009 Visibility Awards



Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi

StuntDouble writes, "For women who thought they might never work in Hollywood again once they came out, Ellen and Portia had one heck of a successful year. Ellen landed herself on the cover of O Magazine and secured a spot as a permanent judge on American Idol. Portia’s freshman show, Better Off Ted, was a ratings success, leading to a second season. And the much-hoped-for Arrested Development movie reached the negotiation phase.

Together they became the first gay couple to tackle The Newlywed Game, and in a joint interview with Oprah they spoke more candidly about their relationship than they ever had before.

Oh, and as year-end bonus, Portia smacked down Elisabeth Hasselbeck with ease and aplomb when she started spewing gay marriage nonsense during an interview with de Rossi on The View. We’ve been watching the clip on repeat since it happened, and we’re pretty sure it will carry us into the new year."


Amélie Mauresmo

The 30-year old lesbian tennis champion decided to retire this year after a hard-won victory at the Paris Open (her first tournament win since 2007). Her career began at the age of 16 and included 25 singles titles and $15 million in prize money, including wins at Wimbledon and the Australian Open.

Most importantly, Mauresmo has always been out. While she has weathered homophobic remarks from some of her peers (Lindsay Davenport made ill-considered remarks about her masculine physique but later apologized, and Martina Hingis called her “half man, half woman” in a radio interview), she didn’t lose any endorsements after leaping into the arms of her girlfriend after winning the Australian Open. When it comes to media coverage of her game and her life, her sexual orientation has never been an issue.

WTA Tour chairperson Stacey Allaster said, "Amélie will go down in history as one of the best players of her generation and a terrific ambassador for women’s tennis. Amélie is an extraordinary player, one of the nicest and friendliest personalities on Tour, and a true champion both in tennis and in life."


(tie) Rachel Maddow and Wanda Sykes

Rachel Maddow

"Maddow is a phenomenon. She is so fearless, mostly because she has done her homework and can express her truth so articulately. When she took down the "healing gays through cuddling" guy (Richard Cohen), I was so excited I scared my cats. We simply could not have better representation. Plus, she’s a total, totally cute, nerd." (The Linster)

Wanda Sykes

Since coming out in 2008, Sykes has performed at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, performed in her own HBO Special (I’ma Be Me), debuted her own her late night talk show (The Wanda Sykes Show) on Fox, and has continued to reveal more about her personal life to hilarious effect. What better endorsement for being out of the closet than increasing personal and professional success?

"Wanda Sykes easily moves between the mainstream and the edge. Intelligent, blunt and hilarious. Married a French lady. What’s not to love?" (Dara Nai)

That’s it for this year’s Visibility Awards. Let us know what shows, movies and people made your best-and-worst lists for 2009!

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