Takei Calls For Gays To Live More Public LivesBy Michelle
May 1, 2006 - 7:44 PM
George Takei (Sulu) called on Americans to drop divisive anti-egalitarian politics such as attempts to ban gay marriage and called on people instead to work together to protect equality, help people who are suffering such as victims of Hurricane Katrina and pay attention to the historic budget deficit. He suggested that right-wing politicians are using anti-gay marriage proposals to distract the public and "get the conservative, reactionary segment out to vote."
In an interview with The Arizona Republic, Takei reiterated that his openness with the press about his own homosexuality and the Equality Trek which had brought him to Arizona State University in Tempe was triggered by the California governor's veto of a bill that would have allowed gay marriage in his home state. His partner of 19 years, Brad Altman, comes from Phoenix and the two share a home in the state.
The actor said that he decided to go on this speaking tour to spark "a conversation, a dialogue with the larger community...I think I have an extra access or even a mega phone and access to [the press] because of my Star Trek hook. But I think the problem has been, we've been, to use that term, 'closeted.'" We've been quiet." He said he believes that gay Americans need to stop hiding their lives, which "are really quite normal, and in many cases, quite boring", citing his experiences as a Japanese American who was incarcerated during World War II because the government then chose to create a potential enemy out of that group.
"In many respects there's a parallel situation here...we're still seen as a group that can be easily stereotyped, caricatured," he noted, pointing out that most GBLT people are not public "flaming drag queens" but teachers, athletes and a host of less visible professions. He and Altman "have a very normal married relationship", he added, sharing insurance and property and pensions.
"With understanding we can put to rest this kind of hysterical reaction that the Japanese Americans were subjected to," Takei added. "Certainly we have been getting our core support base, the GLBT [gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender] community, but because of my Star Trek notoriety, if you will, there have been many Star Trek fans or others who are curious, coming to my talks." He said that the response has been "exhilarating", saying, "We have to reach out to the good, decent, fair-minded Americans out there and that's the kind of audience that we have been getting."
More, including Takei's plea to the people of Arizona not to support a Constitutional amendment restricting civil rights, is at The Arizona Republic.