1:46 am - 08/17/2014

What It Takes 'To Be Takei'

From 'Star Trek' To LGBT Spokesman, What It Takes 'To Be Takei'

Many fans know George Takei from his role as Mr. Sulu on the 1960s show Star Trek. But in the past decade, he has drawn followers who admire him because of who he is — not just who he has played. Now, the new documentary To Be Takei may interest more people in Takei's life.

Takei's personal story offers insights into a couple of key chapters of American political and cultural history.

After Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, Takei and his family were among the 127,000 Americans of Japanese descent forced into internment camps. He was 5 years old.

"We were first taken to the horse stables of Santa Anita racetrack because the camps weren't built yet and we were housed there ... narrow, smelly, still was pungent with the smell of horse manure. And we were housed there for about three months while the camps were being built," Takei tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "And then [we were] put on railroad cars with armed guards at both ends of each car and transported two-thirds of the way across the country to the swamps of southeastern Arkansas. There [were] barbed wire fences there — tall sentry towers with machine guns pointed at us."

As an adult, Takei became active in the civil rights and peace movements. But he couldn't support the movement that most directly affected him, the gay-rights movement, because coming out could have ended his career. It wasn't until after former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed legislation for marriage equality in California in 2005 that Takei decided to break his silence.

"That night, [now-husband] Brad and I were watching the late-night news and we saw young people pouring onto Santa Monica Boulevard, venting their rage against Arnold Schwarzenegger," he says. "And we felt just as angry as those young people. We discussed it and we decided that I should speak out. And for me to do that, my voice had to be authentic — so I spoke to the press for the first time as a gay man."

Now Takei is a forceful spokesman for gay rights. He has been with Brad since 1985. They were married at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles in 2008.

To Be Takei, directed by Jennifer Kroot, was an official selection for the Sundance Film Festival.

Full story and in-depth interview at source

'To Be Takei' Trailer
tetrazzinichikn 17th-Aug-2014 02:30 pm (UTC)
The problem is that he's just so fucking obnoxious.
mistressssnakey 17th-Aug-2014 02:32 pm (UTC)
Does that change the message, though?
sallgoodman 17th-Aug-2014 03:13 pm (UTC)
And a perv
vespertinev 17th-Aug-2014 03:19 pm (UTC)
How is he a perv?
sallgoodman 17th-Aug-2014 03:27 pm (UTC)
Oh I'm just thinking of that video from howard stern when the man with the biggest penis was on there and the way george kept rubbing and gropping it. The guy looked uncomfortable with it but george has the grossest look on his face, just so pervy. All I can think of when I see him
vespertinev 17th-Aug-2014 09:49 pm (UTC)
Aww, but the guy was a fan and iirc he was the one who asked George to touch. Taken out of context it does make it seems like George was a perv though. It's super awkward.
sallgoodman 17th-Aug-2014 11:10 pm (UTC)
I watched it. The guy still seemed uncomfortable to me and George just kept on gropping like a dirty old man. It just made me view him differently
massivityman 17th-Aug-2014 03:07 pm (UTC)
Warp Speed ahead, Takei! And may the electorate be with you!
callmeperhaps 17th-Aug-2014 03:40 pm (UTC)
nene718 17th-Aug-2014 03:57 pm (UTC)
i saw a screening of this doc and it was good. mix of humor but also sadness because of his past.
la_guillotine 17th-Aug-2014 04:00 pm (UTC)
I love him <3 Can't wait to see this
discordaxis 17th-Aug-2014 04:43 pm (UTC)
Is molesting men on live radio part of being an LGBTQ advocate?
vespertinev 17th-Aug-2014 09:54 pm (UTC)
Please, he was not molesting anyone. Check your facts!
tx5mym5 18th-Aug-2014 03:49 pm (UTC)
But the guy volunteered, so it was consensual.
prophecypro 17th-Aug-2014 11:03 pm (UTC)
Love his recent work too
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