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George Takei

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Ohhh my.
We're so glad you came
Sexuality
Icon sex.svg
Reach around the subject
Gay sign.png
We will make this a better world, a more equal society for all people. Especially young straight couples — because they are going to be making the gay babies of tomorrow.
—Takei being Takei[1]

George Takei (1937-) is known for playing Mr. Sulu alongside William Shatner[note 1] in Star Trek, but he now is a prominent human rights activist. Notably, he is at the forefront of the LGBT rights movement in the United States as head of the Human Rights Campaign's "Coming Out" campaign.

Personal life[edit]

It's not really coming out, which suggests opening a door and stepping through. It's more like a long, long walk through what began as a narrow corridor that starts to widen.

Takei publicly came out as gay in 2005, although his homosexuality had long been known or suspected by his Star Trek co-stars and fanbase. At the time of coming out, he had been in a relationship with his partner, Brad Altman, for 18 years. He legally married Altman in November 2008 during the brief period that same-sex marriage was legal in California. Thankfully, his marriage has not been affected by Proposition 8: The California Supreme Court denied the state the right to take away those few thousand people's legal status as "married" despite strong opposition from Republicans and the bevy of legal problems created with two separate statuses for gay couples.

Takei is a Buddhist, and is fluent in Japanese, English, and Spanish.

As a young boy, Takei was among the thousands of citizens rounded up into Japanese internment camps during World War II, experiencing 6 years of imprisonment in two camps. He recently worked on the musical Allegiance (later made into a film), a story of a family dealing with their imprisonment. He is also a founder of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.

Some not so savory things about George Takei[edit]

In November 2017, a report came out from The Hollywood Post, where a former model accused Takei of sexually assaulting him.[2] There later resurfaced an interview from October 2017 with Howard Stern, where after being asked, if he "grabbed anybody by the cock against their will," he mentioned “people that are kind of skittish, or maybe, um, uh, afraid, and you’re trying to persuade.”[3] He has apologized for this comment, but still denies the accusations.

"Educating" a politician[edit]

In November 2015, Roanoke, Virginia mayor David Bowers issued a public statement asking those in his region to put assistance to Syrian refugees on indefinite hold in the wake of several rapid acts of Islamic State terror. One paragraph appeared to cite FDR's sequestration of Japanese nationals and Japanese-Americans during World War II as a precedent for this.[4] Though he did not speak out explicitly for the internment of Syrian refugees, his decision to cite what is now widely considered a human rights violation in support of any policy may in retrospect appear misguided. Takei visited Roanoke the following May in order to speak about the incident and meet with the Mayor, telling reporters: "[I]t was reflecting the kind of mentality then right after Pearl Harbor, that got us imprisoned. And I must say my blood was boiling a little bit. So I thought I would educate him." He later remarked to the mayor, presumably after doing so: "I hope our discussion has enlightened you about a chapter of American history", to which Bowers replied, "Indeed."[5]

It is redeeming of Bowers that he either did, indeed, feel he learned something through the encounter, or at least had the good graces to apologize and pretend.

Internet activity[edit]

Takei's Facebook page is considered by some to have cemented his status as the official cool uncle of the internet. If he does not employ a media team, or is otherwise responsible for the content of his social media accounts, however, a rather blatant attempt to direct the wrath of the Interwebz towards an individual reflects quite poorly on his otherwise admirable public character. Regardless, Takei's statements have a way of becoming online catchphrases.

"I will have sex with you"[edit]

In 2007 retired NBA player Tim Hardaway announced that he was homophobic on a Miami radio show. In response, Takei appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live with a mock PSA known for the quote: "Let it be known. One day, when you least expect it… I will have sex with you."[6] Hardaway has since made a complete turnaround.[7]

"You are a douchebag"[edit]

In 2010, he lambasted a wingnut Arkansas school board member (who encouraged homosexuals to commit suicide) with: "You are a douchebag…No person, let alone an elected school official, whatever their personal or religious beliefs, should ever wish death upon another human being."[8][9]

"It's OK to be Takei"[edit]

When Tennessee decided in 2011 to pass a law that would ban teachers from using the word "gay" to talk about issues like gay rights or gay marriage, Takei jumped into the fray with a YouTube video, offering his name to the cause, and starting the phrase "It's okay to be Takei."[10] [note 2]

"Oh my"[edit]

Takei's signature, this expression is used most often as a reaction to something overtly sexual.[11]

Other quotes from Takei (e.g. in video games[12]) have also entered the meme lexicon.

Takei vs. Twilight[edit]

Takei became even more popular to geeks and nerds the world around when he attempted to broker peace between some Star Trek and Star Wars groupies — after Carrie Fisher and William Shatner exchanged a couple of blows in interviews — by bringing them together against a common foe: Twilight.[13] Even when all jokes are set aside, Takei has stated several times that he finds the Twilight series horrendous, specifically because it tells teen girls that it's good to be nothing but a hollow shell waiting around for a sparkly boyfriend. Like many others, he's also taken Stephenie Meyer (and one might argue, her fans for liking it) to task many times, just because she writes so poorly.

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. Well, just in front and to the left a bit.
  2. The fact that his own name is part of this catchphrase may suggest just a teeny bit of self-promotion. But then again, does he need more promotion at this point?

References[edit]