In presenting an award to Ellen DeGeneres at this year's Golden Globes, Kate McKinnon opened up about being gay.

DeGeneres, 61, was honored with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's Carol Burnett Award at Sunday's ceremony. The award is presented to “an honoree who has made outstanding contributions to the television medium on or off the screen.”

Carol Burnett was the recipient of last year's inaugural award.

In presenting DeGeneres with the award, McKinnon thanked her for making television more accepting of LGBT people.

“In 1997, when Ellen’s sitcom was in the height of its popularity, I was in my mother’s basement lifting weights in front of the mirror and thinking, 'Am I gay?' And I was, and I still am,” McKinnon, 36, said. “But that’s a very scary thing to suddenly know about yourself. It’s sort of like doing 23andMe, and discovering that you have alien DNA. And the only thing that made it less scary was seeing Ellen on TV.”

“She risked her entire life and her entire career in order to tell the truth, and she suffered greatly for it. Of course, attitudes change, but only because brave people like Ellen jump into the fire to make them change. And if I hadn’t seen her on TV, I would have thought, 'I could never be on TV. They don’t let L.G.B.T. people on TV.' And more than that, I would have gone on thinking that I was an alien and that I maybe didn’t even have a right to be here.”

“So thank you, Ellen, for giving me a shot. A shot at a good life,” she added.

In accepting the award, DeGeneres reflected on how Burnett had influenced her own life.

“I felt like I knew her. I felt like she showed us who she was every week,” DeGeneres said.

“I always felt like she was speaking to me. At the end of the show, every time she pulled her ear, I knew she was saying, 'It's OK. I'm gay, too,'” she joked.