I have never really been a fan of Rosie O'Donnell's, but my feelings aren't really based on her involvement in the LGBT community, I just don't like her human. I don't believe an entertainers sexual orientation really make a difference for their career, so I doubt it would make much of a difference for her.
While some entertainers make a big deal out of their sexual orientation, Rosie was not one of those people. Rosie was a true kind hearted person and revealed that quite often on her talk show. Her love of Tom Cruise was almost comical, while her generosity was well documented on her talk show.
No, Rosie O'Donnell would not have been as successful without the announcement that she is a member of the LGBT community. She used her sexual preference to further her career, which is not a bad thing. Her bravery in announcing that she is a lesbian was rewarded, which is a good thing for everyone in the LGBT community to see.
I personally agree,The legacy of Rosie O'Donnell revolves most closely around her LGBT activism and proliferation. O'Donnell is not well-known out of this arena because she has been so vocal about gay rights. Some people might vaguely remember she was in a few movies and a TV show, but will always acknowledge her for her stance on gay rights.
Rosie O'Donnell probably did not at first have as much success because she is gay, but that was decades ago and now this seems to be a plus in the world of entertainment. It gives her an ability to wryly comment on life and she has an edge that is okay for a gay woman to have.