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George Takei, known to several generations of science fiction fans as Star Trek's Mr Sulu, famously came out as a gay man in 2005, and has been an out-and-proud LGBTQ+ advocate ever since. Even prior to discussing his sexuality publicly, Takei has described his marriage to husband Brad Altman as having been an open secret for many years.
In a recent interview with The Stage while discussing the latest production of the stage play Allegiance, Takei explained why he chose to remain private on the subject for so long, and the pivotal moment which led him to live openly.
“Why did it take me so long to come out? Because I’m an actor and I wanted to work," he said. "I learned at a young age that you couldn’t be an openly gay actor and hope to be employed. And I was already an Asian-American actor, so I was already limited a lot. To this day, there are big Hollywood actors who are not out in order to protect their careers."
"I was closeted for a long period of my career," he continued. "I was silent during the AIDS crisis, which fills me with guilt, although I did write checks and checks to AIDS organizations."
When asked why he came out when he did, Takei reiterated the reason that he initially stated back in 2005: it was in response to the political inaction of his fellow actor and then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who rejected a bill which would have made same-sex marriage legal in the state of California.
"Why did I come out when I did?" He said. "Because Schwarzenegger presented himself as a movie star who had worked and was friends with gays and lesbians, many of whom voted for him, but then vetoed that bill. I was so angry that I spoke to the press for the first time as a gay man at the age of 68."
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