Sunday, June 29, 2014

George Takei: It Got Better

I had wanted to write something for LGBT History Month but it’s the end of the month and I didn’t get my act together. Instead I’ll share a new It Gets Better Project video from a series called It Got Better in which George Takei tells his story from being incarcerated by the US government as a child to figuring out he was different from his straight friends shortly after getting out of camp to Stonewall and coming out to his mom. He talks about meeting Brad and his decision to come out to the general public in 2005 after being upset by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's failure to support equal marriage by vetoing a bill that would have made it legal in California. It’s all stuff he’s talked about before but his narration is intercut with family photos which I hadn't seen before. It's nice to see that context. One thing he talked about that I hadn't heard him discuss was how his career, which he'd been protecting all those years by not discussing his sexuality openly, took off after his public coming out.

George & Brad Takei @ Columbus Pride June 21, 2014
Photo courtesy of Rachel B.

Last weekend, George had the honor of being grand marshal at Columbus Pride. He and his husband, Brad, rode a float along with last year's grand marshals, Stephen and Joshua Snyder-Hill. My friend Rachel sent some photos of George talking to the crowd as he rode by! I wish I could have been there. Note that they are holding signs that say, "Takei Pride Parade" a nod to the time George offered to the people of Tennessee that they could use his last name as a synonym for the word "gay". (In 2012 the Tennessee legislature attempted to pass SB 49 & HB 229 which would have prevented teachers from discussing homosexuality in the classroom. It was nicknamed the "Don't Say 'Gay'" bill.)

In other news, I'd like to officially announce that I'm a contributor to Discover Nikkei, a project of the Japanese American National Museum. They approached me in January after someone on staff found my post about Hawaii Five-0's season 4 episode Ho'onani Makuakane. I didn't announce it then because I wasn't sure if I would become a regular contributor. This month I decided that for pride I would submit my coming out story. They accepted it and it was just posted! I hope to contribute more posts to Discover Nikkei in the coming months.

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