Ellen Degeneres announced she was gay to 42 million viewers on this date in 1997. I can’t say that it’s hurt her ratings any, and J.C Penney’s still adores her as a spokesperson.

Personally, I don’t give a diddly damn about a person’s sexual orientation. But I’ll acknowledge that some words are more emotionally “loaded” than others. I’ll acknowledge it, but I won’t necessarily agree with it.

Take the word “darkies” for instance. When Stephen Foster wrote “My Old Kentucky Home,” nobody flinched when singing “the darkies are gay.” But the “contemporary lyrics,” circa 1986 via the Kentucky legislature, changed the phrase to “the people are gay.” That, of course, was before the word “gay” took on its current predominant meaning in our vernacular.

While researching my April 21 blog post on the World’s Fair in Seattle, I came across another interesting “gay” tidbit. Originally, The 21st Century Exposition carnival rides area was called “Gayland.” The name was changed to “Fun Forest” sometime after the fair closed. The Fun Forest, however, is now defunct.

I can only imagine what Ellen would have to say about that!