Tag Archives: George Takei

Hero of the Week Award: June 22, Naka Nathaniel (and friends)

22 Jun

Hero of the Week

The Boy Scouts of America got a bit of attention at their annual meeting last month, leading to more bad press for their ridiculous anti-gay policies. This week, journalist Naka Nathaniel, an Eagle Scout, renounced his rank and repudiated the Scouts in an interview with MSNBC. His powerful words say it all.

When I earned my Eagle Scout rank 20 years ago, I was proud of my accomplishment. When my little brother earned his Eagle 13 years later, I traveled halfway round the world to attend his court of honor. I was proud of him and my family. My parents had raised two Eagle Scouts. Today, I’m ashamed to be an Eagle Scout.

I don’t want my son to participate in Scouting…The antigay policies of the Boy Scouts of America have forced me to turn my back on an organization that, along with my parents, I credit for helping me be a good son, a good husband, a good employee, and a good citizen.

Well put! For those who missed it, the wonderful Zach Wahls, an Eagle Scout with two lesbian mothers, delivered over 275,000 signatures demanding a change in policy to the Scouts’ annual meeting. Another former scout, actor and activist George Takei, is hosting Jennifer Tyrrell, the Ohio lesbian who was banned from her son’s scout troop, at NYC Pride. Let’s hope more scouts will follow the charge for bravery in Scout Law and take action to pressure this organization to live up to some of its other standards, like kindness, courtesy, and helpfulness.

Honorable mention this week goes to General Mills. The Minneapolis-based food giant has “joined the culture war” and made a strong stand for equality. Earlier this month, a General Mills executive testified before Congress about the need for inclusive non-discrimination legislation. This week they company issued a strong statement opposing the Minnesota ballot initiative that would ban same-sex marriages. Hooray — now eating Cheerios and Häagen-Dazs is a stand for civil rights!

Celebrating LGBTQ History Month: June 19, George Takei

19 Jun

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.

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