Today I would like to honor and pay tribute to Geroge Takei. TSM followers will remember that we celebrated Takei’s heroism in November when he recorded a stern Public Service Announcement that resulted in a bigoted school board member resigning. Known to many for his roles as Lt. Sulu on Star Trek and Capt. Nim on The Green Berets, Takei has been quietly active in gay causes since the 70s and has become much more visibly active since his coming out in 2005.
Takei’s sexual orientation and long-term relationship with partner Brad Altman were open secrets among the Hollywood community and Star Trek fan base. Shortly after coming out in Frontiers magazine, he said,
It’s not really coming out, which suggests opening a door and stepping through. It’s more like a long, long walk through what began as a narrow corridor that starts to widen… [LGBT people] are masculine, we are feminine, we are caring, we are abusive. We are just like straight people, in terms of our outward appearance and our behavior. The only difference is that we are oriented to people of our own gender.
Takei has taken a number of very public stands, including recording public service announcements opposing the Kobe-esque rants of former NBA star Tim Hardaway and the despicable former Arkansas school board member Clint McCance. He and Altman have worked hard to raise the visibility of gay couples by appearing as the first-ever same-sex couple on a celebrity episode of the Newlywed Game (which they won) and appearing on a number of other shows.
The couple are also marriage pioneers. They were the first same-sex couple to apply for a marriage license in West Hollywood.They were married on September 14, 2008 at the Democracy Forum of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, of which Takei is one of the founders. Married before the passage of Prop 8, which both men have actively opposed, their marriage stands in California law.
George Takei deserves our thanks for being a visible, active, Asian-American gay man and for regularly mixing seriousness and humor to support gay rights. To learn more about his great work for gay rights and civil rights for Japanese Americans, click here.