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Meeting George Takei

A couple of weeks ago I skipped out of a horrible mandatory workshop on teamwork and leadership to go hear and meet George Takei. It was National Gay/Lesbian Coming Out Day, and my workplace invited George to come and speak. I love him on many levels, so how could I pass it up?!

George told the very moving story of his family being put in internment camps during WWII, and also about the all-Japanese-American 442nd Regimental Combat Team that was so heroic in Europe during the war... He compared the process minority races have gone through to get equality to what gays and lesbians are going through now to get the right to marry. He is a very articulate speaker and had me about in tears, which ain't easy to do!

As the Q&A commenced, I have to say the N. California audience couldn't care less that George is gay. They were all for it. :) What they wanted to know about is whether he is really dead on Heroes. Answer: things are never as they seem! Then to my amazement and George's, someone asked about how he's treated on the Howard Stern show, where he does 1 week of guest announcing every 3 months. He went into a long story of his history on the show and how he ended up a beloved regular. In the end it was largely due to his partner Brad loving the show that George was willing to do it. He had the audience howling in laughter and the clash of proper George with outrageous Howard. I guess I was laughing more knowingly, because at one point he said he couldn't believe people from NASA listen to Howard, and looked at me and said, "I hear you cackling over there!" Guilty as charged! It was so funny. He remembered me in the autograph line too (yes, I have to say this was more like a con appearance than an activist event!). Still he graced me with an autograph in his beautiful writing. I kidded him about his relationship with Shatner, and he said it was amazing that Shatner never learned how to pronounce Takei (rhymes with okay) after 30+ years. But he was good-natured about it.

So anyway it was a strange confluence of my life's amusements that day (slash, Star Trek, Heroes, Howard Stern....), and I'm very glad I skipped out on the management training to be there.

Also, has it really been since May that I posted? Sorry! So much has happened since then, too. Oh well, be grateful I've spared you.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 26th, 2007 05:32 pm (UTC)
So wait, there were two things going on that day? George Takei and/or a leadership conference? heh.

A friend of mine spent a couple days with him on a set one time. Said how wonderful he was. Sounds like a fun event! And at the office no less!

Oct. 26th, 2007 07:59 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it was terrible scheduling to have a 3-day workshop overlap with coming out day ;) Luckily I'd arranged to miss the last day due to travel, and ducked out early 2nd day to see George. And I have no regrets! Can't wait til George is on Howard again in early December. I wonder if he'll mention his strange experience mixing rocket science with pee-pee jokes. Heh.
Oct. 26th, 2007 07:50 pm (UTC)
Takei is a fun speaker. I saw him at a con years ago, before his coming out. He was a hoot and a half telling stories, but his memories of being in the camp are a sobering thing to think about.

I do agree with him that this is like a new civil rights movement, and I hope that his coming out (as well as other well-known figures) will decrease the stigma.
Oct. 26th, 2007 08:07 pm (UTC)
It was interesting -- George made it clear the press declared his coming out as happening a just 2-3 years ago. In his mind he had been out for a very long time, being openly with his partner. He said there are plaques with both their names on it from various philanthropic activities, etc, so it was never a secret to him. But it didn't really count until the press covered it, I guess when he did that Out magazine interview. I wonder if someone had asked him at a con, if he would have opened up about it before then?

George is still mad at Gov Schwarzeneger for not signing the gay marriage bill as he had promised. I don't think George will every give up, and that's great. Certainly this nerdy audience was very much behind him.
Oct. 26th, 2007 09:00 pm (UTC)
From what I recall of his "official" outing, many people seemed to be of the opinion that the closet door was open for years, but the general public didn't realize it. Not too unusual in Hollywood, where many actors who are gay don't want to come out because they're afraid of being stereotyped in roles or blackballed in public opion, but most of those in the industry are perfectly aware of their orientation.

I don't really recall anyone in fandom being surprised one iota though. Not that fandom had their gaydar pinging or anything, but honestly, most people just didn't care. IDIC and all that.

I don't blame him for being upset over Schwarzeneger reneging on the gay marriage bill. I think Schwarzeneger is caught between two worlds -- the acting community which is generally accepting of gays and lesbians, and the political community which is not, especially if you're a Republican.

My thinking has long been that if I, as a non-religious person, can go to a Justice of the Peace or judge to get married and not involve a church at all, then why shouldn't gay people be allowed the same right? It's not a religious issue in my case, so why should it be for them?
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )



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