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Thu, Oct. 27th, 2005, 09:07 pm
dragonscholar: From the Trek front.

Actor George Takei, best known for his role as Mr. Hikaru Sulu in "Star Trek," came out as homosexual in the current issue of Frontiers, a biweekly Los Angeles magazine covering the gay and lesbian community.

Original article here.

I just saw this, and am curious as to the reactions in the Trek community, which has always impressed me as very tolerant.

(My own reaction is pretty much "GO GEORGE!").

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 01:16 am (UTC)
tzikeh

My reaction is "Did he really think we didn't know? Seriously?"

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 01:22 am (UTC)
partly_bouncy

He and his partner have apparently been together for 18 years. Wow.

I didn't know but on the other hand, I really didn't care. I could see why he wouldn't want to come out but I think that if he had done so earlier, parts of the Trek community would have been really supportive during the 1990s. Before that, with the people doing flee Trek because of the adult material and slash! Ew!

But this is like the second big come out in two days... and sort of notable to me for a couple of reasons. Sheryl Swoopes is the other big one.

Sheryl Swoopes and George Takei are a bit more noticable in that they represent under represented groups:
1. Female atheles
2. African Americans
3. Asians
4. Star Trek cast members

And the Sheryl Swoopes bit to me is a bit more interesting in that on her CNN interview, she cited a television show inspiring her to come out because if fictional character X can do it and not have it hurt her, then she can too. Which kind of begs the question of does popular culture breed tolerance or a perception of tolerance? Is it that inspiring? Or is it the other way around? Or does it just feed steretypes that inspire the more fundamentalist members on both sides?

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 01:24 am (UTC)
mhari

Well, I didn't. :)

But it looks like more of a "this is your official notice" thing, anyway.

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 01:24 am (UTC)
dragonscholar

I never thought about it myself. Did people suspect?

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 01:34 am (UTC)
ghostgecko

I think there have been rumors, off and on. They tended to get shot down by the majority of fandom, tho'.
I say good for him, too! I imagine it's much harder for someone of his generation to come out than it would be nowadays. The number of roles casting directors were willing to hire non-whites for was even smaller in the 60's than now, and he probably had to stay more closeted for job reasons. Not a great way of thinking, but understandable.

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 01:33 am (UTC)
melsmarsh

I never really wondered... I didn't like TOS.

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 01:21 am (UTC)
mhari

...Whoa. *reads*

Damn. Somebody just acquired a new fangirl. :D He's very articulate, I think.

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 01:42 am (UTC)
suzycat

I think he's lovely and good on him for making a public statement at a time when it might seem it doesn't really matter any more.

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 01:47 am (UTC)
mhari

Indeed.

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 02:18 am (UTC)
vampiresetsuna

Me, also! I always enjoyed his character, but this really makes me respect him as a person. Such inner strength, courage, and uses articulate vocab! <3 Joins in the fangirling.

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 01:34 am (UTC)
melsmarsh

Well, I'm proud of him. :)

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 01:38 am (UTC)
suzycat

Is it bad that my primary reaction is "damn, I bet he was hot for that Chekov lad" and my mind goes to RPS places?

It is, isn't it.

Oddly, it doesn't surprise me in the slightest.

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 02:14 am (UTC)
bovil

Koenig wasn't/isn't his type.

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 02:32 am (UTC)
suzycat

DONT SPOIL MY FANGIRL DREAMS!!

See this is why slash is so popular. Stupid reality doesn't get in the way...

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 05:26 pm (UTC)
lunabee34

I was watching Star Trek Five with my friends last night, and when I read the article, I immediately thought, "This makes me wanna write Sulu/Chekov lost in Yosemite fic." LOL

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 01:46 am (UTC)
fleurette

WOW! I had no idea...but I've always admired him, and I still do...maybe even more.

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 01:51 am (UTC)
kadath

The exact reaction here in the Cold Wastes:

Me: Holy shit, Sulu's gay!

Roomie: Huh.

Then we went back to watching CSI.

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 02:03 am (UTC)
st_crispins

I'm actually surprised people didn't know this. I heard this some years ago and I just assumed most of Trek fandom knew.

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 02:05 am (UTC)
bovil

A friend of mine (who is programming co-head at Toronto Trek once described this as "the worst-kept secret in Hollywood."

OK, so he did again this afternoon.

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 02:16 am (UTC)
brokenbacktango

Whoa. I'm a moderate fan of TOS and I think this is awesome. I'm right there with you--Go George!

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 02:30 am (UTC)
ctrl_issue: Rock on!

Pardon me as I devolve into even more of a retarded state than normal. ^_^ I had no idea, but I guess I should have known. He's my favorite character from TOS *remembers him in that one eps with the shirtlessness and the sword and the HAWT-nesssss*. If my admiration isn't the kiss of death for straightness in males, I don't know what is (B.D. Wong from Law & Order: SVU, and Eric Zsamanda from CSI-reportedly). Anyway, I liked both articles, and will be passing them on. They need to be shared by those, like myself, who didn't know.

I'm wondering if this might get a gay character on a Star Trek show in the future, though. I mean... as a main character. Maybe. Possibly. Hopefully.

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 02:35 am (UTC)
scifantasy

Of course the Trek fandom is generally tolerant. Hell, that is where the term "slash" comes from, after all. *grin* But jokes aside, a fandom like Star Trek, whose source material tends to discuss large issues is going to be pretty tolerant.

Actually, I seem to recall the occasional gripe that homosexuality itself is rarely discussed in the Trek series; even by analogy, it's only been done twice--once on TNG and once on Enterprise--and both were weak. The books and other licensed material do a better job of it.

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 02:53 am (UTC)
moriath

Wasn't it kind of there on DS9, when Jadzia was meeting all of Dax's previous hosts and she and that woman shared a hawt kiss?

Okay, it's only hot when I see screen caps of it now, because I was like, 9 when that show was on, and it apparently didn't phase me at the time because I have no recollection of their being any discussion of it on the show.

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 02:56 am (UTC)
scifantasy

I didn't count that episode because I was under the impression it wasn't commentary on homosexuality.

When the Enterprise episode (that dealt with "melders" and a disease, and was effectively an AIDS parable) was ramping up, there was discussion about the "only other episode to deal with homosexuality," that being the TNG one ("The Outcast," I believe). I guess the DS9 kiss was purely a ratings-grab...

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 03:23 am (UTC)
speshulduck

I just remember getting kicked out of class the next day after the DS9 episode aired because some kid started teasing me about "ew lesbians!" and I just totally went off on him. I was twelve.

"Stigma" is the Enterprise episode you're thinking of, and it was pretty bad as I recall. "The Outcast" was one kickass episode though.

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 05:43 am (UTC)
bovil

Gene Roddenberry didn't get into sexuality much (he was really pushing the envelope having Kirk and Uhura kiss in the first season), and when the Berman Cabal got control of the franchise they didn't want to have anything to do with storylines that might make their darling 14-year-old-boy demographic go "ICKY!"

Kind of ironic when the writer of the most popular and iconic Star Trek episode ever - "Trouble With Tribbles" - and a senior writer/editor for TNG was David Gerrold, a big old Mary if there ever was one.

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 01:39 pm (UTC)
dragonscholar

Gerrold is gay? That's new on me.

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 02:49 pm (UTC)
kajicarter

Gerrold is gay. I once got into a "discussion" with someone who thought Gerrold was the best thing in SF since Asimov/your deity of choice. Having read some of Gerrold's work, I was happy to talk...until I realized that this fellow hadn't actually read any of his books, he just thought that because David Gerrold was gay, he had to be wonderful.

I don't mind him as an author, and I don't care if he's gay or not. But...geez!

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 02:50 pm (UTC)
dragonscholar

Me, I was into the Chtorr series over anything else.

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 05:28 pm (UTC)
lunabee34

Oh my yes! I adore those books. I've never talked to anyone else who's read them.

*feels less lonely*

LOL

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 05:34 pm (UTC)
dragonscholar

You're not alone.

. . .

Wow, those Chtorr were BIG weren't they?

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 06:36 pm (UTC)
lunabee34

LOL

And strangely like sexy pipecleaners that smell of delicious pie.

I'll be over here in the corner pretending I did not write that.

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 07:34 pm (UTC)
bovil

He was Author GoH last year at Gaylaxicon in San Diego last year. Nice guy. K has known him for over 20 years.

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 03:06 am (UTC)
atalantapendrag

Never been a TOS fan, so I didn't hear the rumors, but I think it's cool of him to come out to the general public. I hope the publicity boost gets him some work.

Also, very impressed by the 18 year relationship. That's a long time.

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 03:07 am (UTC)
dragonscholar

Seriously. 18 years in a solid relationship is impressive period.

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 03:10 am (UTC)
nagasvoice

Thanks for the links, will repost them too. Came over via lapillus, who always posts interesting stuff.
Takei being 68, out of a totally different era in what it meant to be gay--and even now, it can still mean getting killed--just impresses me again with how courageous he always was. He's overcome enormous barriers to come out like this, especially as such a public figure, being elected to public office, and so on.

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 04:12 am (UTC)
blackjackrocket

He's been elected to public office? That comes as much more of a surprise.

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 05:38 am (UTC)
bovil

He ran for public office in LA in the early 70's, but didn't win the election (it was close). There are some strange CA election laws because of it; his opponent tried to get "equal time" for all the hours that Star Trek was running in syndication on local stations at the time.

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 05:41 am (UTC)
blackjackrocket

Oh my. That's pretty funny.

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 06:21 am (UTC)
fransisca

Can I add another Go George!!
I think comming out is more difficult for someone of his generation, but I wonder why it took so long?
My experiences at least with TOS fandom is that it is a fairy open minded fandom.

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 02:40 pm (UTC)
ginalin

My experiences at least with TOS fandom is that it is a fairy open minded fandom.

Sweetheart, that was the BEST Freudian slip EVER! *roffling*

Sat, Oct. 29th, 2005 07:44 am (UTC)
fransisca

Oops ;-P LMAO ....got I've got a one track mind *g*

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 10:08 am (UTC)
nostalgia_lj

I am surprised that I'm surprised.

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 11:27 am (UTC)
daerlyn

I had no idea (I don't follow the original cast as closely I do the TNG guys), but my first reaction on reading that was 'Woohoo!' I like people coming out of the closet.

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 02:38 pm (UTC)
ginalin

ST has so many gay fans, I think that it was good of him to acknowledge publicly what some people sort of suspected all along.

It is a tolerant community, because what many people loved about Star Trek was it's ideal that "we can all get along". That would eventually have to include not only species, race, religion and gender, but sexual orientation, obviously.

TOS really never directly addressed that, but later incarnations of ST did in various ways, always positively. Many fans thought it would have made the point better if they'd actually HAD an openly gay character on one of the later series, but they were no doubt working within certain network restraints.

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 05:30 pm (UTC)
lunabee34

I've always admired George Takei for his public activism, particularly as concerns race relations in America. Now I admire him even more for choosing to speak out about his lifestyle when he could've remained silent. Kudos to a very classy man.

Fri, Oct. 28th, 2005 07:40 pm (UTC)
cmar_wingnut

I had never heard this before, although for some reason I had suspected it. Anyway, there's a big difference between rumors and an official announcement like this.

I second the 'Go George'. And he's very articulate and makes some excellent points in that article.

Thu, Nov. 3rd, 2005 03:32 am (UTC)
wickedwonder1

Yay! Seconding everyone's opinion. I was shocked though- I read George's bio a few years back and I could have sworn he said something about being married with kids recently. I need to find another copy of that.