October 26, 2018 at 3:18 pm EDT | by Mariah Cooper
Ellen Pompeo talks about ‘Grey’s Anatomy’s impact on gay fans

Ellen Pompeo on ‘Ellen’ (Screenshot via YouTube)

“Grey’s Anatomy” star Ellen Pompeo visited “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” to reveal that the long-running series will return for a 16th season. She also explained how gay fans have given her a purpose for continuing the show.

“The first episode I directed, a teenager was in the show and he was gay, and he played a gay character,” she says. “After we had filmed the whole entire episode, he said to me: ’You know, my whole life, I’ve watched this show with my parents, and I’ve sort of used the show as a way to tell my parents that I was gay, and to show my parents that it’s okay, that I’m not different, there’s nothing wrong with me.’”

She continued on that the show helped the teen’s parents “understand what having a gay son meant,”

“I gotta keep doing it, man! We’re touching lives and making a difference,” she says.

Pompeo was also recently honored with the GLSEN Respect Award from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. At the end of her interview, Pompeo advocated for Gay-Straight Alliance clubs to be put into more schools.

“GLSEN’s research shows an increase in violence against LGBTQ teens in school—an increase of 65 percent,” Pompeo says. “Something we can all do is set up Gay-Straight Alliance clubs in the schools. There is something we can do to help these kids that the research shows this is effective.”

“If you’re not old enough to vote, that is something that you can do that will make a real difference and really help kids,” she concluded.

Watch below.

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