Long before he became known as Sulu on the Star Trek television series and later feature films, George Takei was a member of Boy Scouts of America.
Now one of the most famous gay men in the world, Takei will be wearing a scouts uniform this Sunday when he joins Jennifer Tyrrell for the New York City Pride March. Tyrrell is the lesbian mom ousted as the den leader of her seven-year-old son’s troop in Ohio because of her sexual orientation.
‘Some of my best memories from my boyhood are of my scouting days,’ Takei said in a statement released Monday by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. ‘I played bass bugle in our troop’s drum and bugle corps. We marched in Fourth of July parades. We learned teamwork and brotherhood from camping together. The Boy Scouts built my character. As an adult, I was shocked and deeply disappointed to learn that the Scouts discriminate against LGBT people. This is contrary to the ideals of equality and fair play that I hold dear.’
Takei Added: ‘The Boy Scouts must change.’
The Boy Scouts may do just that. The organization is reportedly considering ending its long-standing ban on openly gay scouts and scout leaders.
A policy change is being developed that would allow local chapters of the organization to decide for themselves whether or not to accept gays participate.
Takei, formerly a member of Boy Scouts Troop 379, later served as a spokesperson for the Scouts and even received awards from the BSA in recognition of his leadership.