Takei Thanks Fans For Espousing ToleranceBy Michelle
November 12, 2005 - 10:12 PM
George Takei (Sulu) has written in his blog about revealing his homosexuality to the press, thanking the fans who embodied the phrase "infinite diversity in infinite combinations" in expressing their support for him.
Writing at GeorgeTakei.com, the actor said that although his relationship with Brad Altman had been known for many years to his friends and relatives, discussing it in Frontiers magazine (story) "suddenly opened the floodgates to a torrent of media requests" and notes from fans. "There have been the few but inevitable hate letters, Bible lectures, and vulgar diatribes," he admitted. "When one group tries to impose their own particular values on the rest of society by using the law, that is not only disrespectful of others, it goes against the core values of our American democracy. That is what is happening in our America today."
Takei said he felt it was important to speak out to counter the "reactionary ideologues of the right" who are working to deprive people of their rights as citizens based on their sexual orientation - something he already experienced as a result of his Japanese ancestry when he experienced persecution and incarceration during the second world war. "For my voice to have credibility, I decided to 'come out' to the press...together we will work to make equality and justice for all people a hallmark of our nation."
Friend and fellow Asian-American performer Pat Suzuki told the Gay City News that Takei had inspired her to get involved in charity work. "George is probably the brightest of us all, he’s so interested in civic things. He represented the Los Angeles mayor and went all over the world to study public transportation because what is worse than the smog problem they had in Los Angeles," she noted.
Like Takei, Suzuki's Japanese-American family was sent to an internment camp during World War II. Takei is "the only one who can talk me into anything by saying 'You should be a good citizen,' and that always gets me," she said. "[Takei] had all of these people, who came back from the camps and made a lot of money and became Republicans and live in Orange County, bidding big bucks at a benefit auction."
SFGate.com quoted Takei as saying that he always hoped "a more solemn yet joyful occasion" would serve as a means for himself and Altman to appear together as a couple, but when Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recently vetoed a bill that would have allowed them to marry in their home state of California, Takei concluded he might never achieve that dream without speaking out, which was why he granted an interview to Frontiers' Alexander Cho. "It's no coincidence that Takei chose to openly discuss his sexual orientation with one of the few Asian editors in the gay media," noted the article, noting the actor's own comparisons between being marginalised as a gay man and as a Japanese-American.
In his current role in Equus, Takei plays a character obsessed with notions or normality and whether efforts to become "normal" deaden passion and innovation. He said that the play's themes resonated with his attempts to fit in to "normal" society by disguising his sexual orientation. He is best known as a rare Asian character on television in the 1960s who was neither villainous nor asexual; Garrett Wang (Kim) has said that the only non-stereotypical Asian male he recalled from that era, neither the enemy nor "non-masculine, dorky computer nerd guys...was George Takei as Sulu."
Dexter at the Valley Advocate raised his eyebrows at the photo Yahoo! chose to accompany its article on Takei coming out, saying, "the picture attached to the story shows Takei looking, um...extraordinarily gay, and since the image comes from 1996, that means the Yahoo editors pretty much went out and found the gayest looking photo of Takei they could." Dexter hoped Takei's revelation would provide "yet one more wake-up call to the producers of the still homo-free Star Trek franchise" to include a gay character.