George Takei: LGBTIs need to be a bit angry to come out and change things

‘My blood was boiling but I was still silent,’ the 77-year-old actor and activist recalls what propelled him to become a vocal proponent of gay rights in 2005

George Takei: LGBTIs need to be a bit angry to come out and change things
07 June 2014

LGBT people in Japan need to fight for their own rights and they need to be a bit angry, George Takei said during his visit to Japan this week.

The California-born actor, who is of Japanese ancestry, recounted his own experiences as having felt both courage and anger when he publicly came out as gay and joined the equal rights movement for sexual minorities in the US.

Best known for his role as Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu in the television series ‘Star Trek,’ the 77-year-old is also a prominent gay and civil rights activist.

On a speaking tour to Japan and Korea organized by the US Department of State this week, Takei said he has noticed a growing LGBT movement in Japan and that LGBT people in Japan need to be a bit angry to fight for their own rights and make their society more equal, the Associated Press reported.

Takei was the guest of honor at a reception hosted by US Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and was attended by about 160 people, including Japan’s first lady, Akie Abe, who wore a rainbow LGBT pride pin. Abe became the first Japanese first lady this year to participate in a LGBT march.

He said that he was silent for decades due to fear of hurting his acting career which began in Hollywood in the late 1950s, at a time when Asians were rarely cast in American television shows and movies.

At the reception, Takei compared future society with a miniature Starship Enterprise given to him by Kennedy. He said that it is the perfect description to the occasion they were celebrating, ‘That is our Utopian future. This Enterprise is a metaphor of Starship Earth with all of its diversity – not only diversity of race and culture and history but also the unseen diversity of orientation, all coming together working in concert for a better future. And that is what we are doing here tonight.’

In an interview with The Korea Times this week, Takei shared that he has been politically active, having marched with Martin Luther King Jr during the civil rights movement in the 1960s and had also protested against the Vietnam War.

The actor however remained tight-lipped about his sexuality although he was out to his closest friends.

‘The irony is, at the same time I have been an activist in the political arena… I was silent on the issue that was closest to me,’ Takei told the Times.

It was only when then-California Gov Arnold Schwarzenegger rejected a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in 2005 that propelled Takei to speak up.

‘My blood was boiling but I was still silent,’ Takei said.

‘That night, [my husband] Brad and I were watching the late evening news and we saw young people pouring out on to Santa Monica Boulevard venting their anger and rage… I felt I needed to participate in that. To do that, my voice had to be authentic. So I spoke to the press for the first time and I blasted Schwarzenegger’s veto.’

Takei and his husband Brad Altman, who accompanied him on the trip, were among California’s first gay couples to obtain a marriage license when California legalized same-sex marriage in 2008. 



No thumbnail available

Revelers gear up for 2012 Sydney Mardi Gras

Kylie Minogue, theme park and fair scheduled for 3 week LGBTQI festival
No thumbnail available

Gay US Army soldier found guilty of 19 counts but not of aiding enemy

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning was charged with leaking 700,000 confidential documents to WikiLeaks
No thumbnail available

Vote on Lithuania’s proposed ‘gay propaganda’ ban bill pushed back again

Lithuanian lawmakers have voted to suspend a vote on a proposal that would ban ‘defilement of the traditional family’ in public spaces until they meet again after the summer break
No thumbnail available

Bonnie Tyler: Gays watch Eurovision? I might win

'Holding Out For A Hero' pop star says now she knows that gay people watch the Eurovision Song Contest, she might stand a chance of winning it
Sean Conroy becomes baseball's first ever openly gay professional player

Sean Conroy becomes baseball's first ever openly gay professional player

His teammates wore rainbow bands and socks to support him
No thumbnail available

Andy Cohen doesn't understand how someone can be a gay Republican

'I'm interested in why someone would support a party that doesn't necessarily support equality for that person'
No thumbnail available

Gay TV channel abandons LGBT programing

US gay television network Logo are abandoning LGBT programing and have dropped gays from branding statements
No thumbnail available

DJ Scott Mills says Chris Moyles is not anti-gay

Gay Radio 1 DJ admits being 'scared' of breakfast show presenter who shocked listeners with homophobic jokes
No thumbnail available

School sued over student's right to wear pro-gay T-shirt

Ohio school claimed 'Jesus Is Not a Homophobe' shirt was sexual in nature
No thumbnail available

Transgender candidate makes history in Florida

Gina Duncan is making history for being a popular transgender candidate for the Orange County, Florida Commission