Being Gay in Outer Space

Mr Sulu 2Growing up I was a fan of TV’s Star Trek. Star Trek a mixture of drama and ‘campy’ fun unfolded on the starship Enterprise. With Captain Kirk at the helm he was ably served by his helmsman Hikaru Sulu, played by actor George Takei. Star Trek which ran from 1966 – 1969 brought together a multicultural cast that addressed issues of the day such as racism and war. One issue the series didn’t address were gay rights.

George Takei was a closeted gay man during the series. Living in a particularly homophobic period in American life he picked his battles and chose to work against Asian stereotypes prevalent in Hollywood. At a time when most Asian actors could only get limited work, Takei portrayed his character (Hikaru Sulu) with intelligence and dignity.

In 2005 Takei watched as California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a marriage-equality bill. At age 68 he turned to his life partner Brad Altman and decided that now was the time to go public and use his celebrity status to advocate for marriage equality and gay rights.

Now at age 77 George Takei continues to take on homophobia and racism with humor and persistence. He advocates for a society where we can each be that unique person God created us to be. A friend who happens to be gay, says this: ‘It is simply a matter of justice to allow people to authentically be who they are’.

And so we look to George Takei, Captain Kirk’s able helmsman, to boldly take us where we should have been all along. To Mr. Takei we say ‘live long and prosper’.