LGBTQ History Month: George Takei
The LGBT community is the only community worldwide that is not taught its history at home, in public schools or in religious institutions. LGBT History Month provides role models, builds community and makes the civil rights statement of our extraordinary national and international contributions. You can find videos, read bios, and see photos of the more than 248 Icons featured to date through the Equality Forum’s website here.
April 20, 1937
George Takei is an actor best known for his role as Mr. Sulu on “Star Trek.” He is an outspoken advocate for LGBT equality.
Born in Los Angeles to second-generation Japanese-American parents, Takei’s life changed at the start of World War II. From age 4 to 8, he was held with his family in Japanese-American internment camps. Although he did not understand the reasons, Takei recalls feeling like an outsider from early in life.
Takei attended the University of California, Berkeley to study architecture. After two years, he transferred to UCLA to pursue his passion for theater. After graduating, he studied at the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-Upon-Avon. Takei returned to California where he earned a master’s degree in theater from his alma mater.
In 1966, he landed the role of Mr. Sulu, helmsman of the Starship Enterprise, on the television series “Star Trek.” He was encouraged by the show’s commitment to diversity, which was a first for a major television series. Producer Gene Roddenberry urged the cast to think of the Starship Enterprise as “a metaphor for the Starship Earth.” Takei continued his role on the television show for eight seasons and in subsequent “Star Trek” films.
Takei became involved in local and state politics. In 1972, he served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. The following year, he was appointed to the board of directors for the Southern California Rapid Transit District, where he championed refurbishing the Los Angeles Metro Rails system.
In 1995, in response to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s veto of a same-sex marriage bill, Takei publicly came out. In 2006, Takei started “Equality Trek,” a speaking tour about coming out. In 2007, he received the Human Rights Campaign’s Equality Award.
Takei met his partner, Brad Altman, in 1987. They married 21 years later, shortly after same-sex marriage became legal in California.
Equality Forum is a national and international LGBT civil rights organization with an educational focus. Equality Forum coordinates LGBT History Month, produces documentary films, undertakes high-impact initiatives and presents the largest annual national and international LGBT civil rights summit. For more information, visit www.equalityforum.com.
“We can’t understand our present and plan effectively for the future without knowing where we came from.”September 30, 2016
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