Friday, October 28, 2005

I have certain heroes in life. You know, role models. Good people I have met, or have watched from a distance. This week, Rosa Parks' death has showed us once again a role model.

Now, for one I have met. George Takei. If you were never a fan of Star Trek, chances are you still knew or recognized 'Mr. Sulu.' I had a chance to sit down and talk to George Takei for a few minutes at a Star Trek convention in Albuquerque, probably fifteen years or so ago. He is an intelligent, very pleasant man who listens at least as much as he speaks, and speaks with a thoughtful attitude. I sat down with him thinking it would be interesting to meet George Takei. I left feeling that he thought it was interesting to meet me. Because that's the kind of guy he is.

Anyway, today George Takei said that he is gay. I know that he isn't the first TV star, movie star or athlete to come out and say that, although most of the others have been female (like Cheryl Swoopes, yesterday). There is still more of a stigma attached to it for men than for women. And in Takei's Asian community, it still doesn't sit well with a lot of people. But it doesn't surprise me that George Takei would be among the first Asian men in the public eye to address it.

Takei, a Japanese-American who lived in a U.S. internment camp from age 4 to 8, said he grew up feeling ashamed of his ethnicity and sexuality. He likened prejudice against gays to racial segregation.

“It’s against basic decency and what American values stand for,” he said.

And he is right. I always wonder about conservatives who sweep the ongoing discrimination against gay/lesbian Americans under the rug, even to the extent that they oppose adding 'sexual orientation' to hate crimes laws, despite statistics showing that sexual orientation is THE leading reason why victims of hate crimes are targetted in this day and age, surpassing attacks due to race, religion, gender, nationality or any other specific characteristic.

Because I am a straight married man, the law does not discriminate against me in matters like inheritance, taxation, visitation if my wife is in the hospital, adoption or other areas where it does all too often discriminate against gay Americans. That is wrong, and I am glad that we have people like George Takei who are willing to stand up and say so.

All rights reserved.
Disclaimer And Comment Policy