Live Long and Prosper My Nerdy Friends!!!
Keeping with the Star Trek Theme, Let’s take about George Takei and nerd culture in the LGBTQ community.
George Takei is an American actor who is best known for his role in Star Trek. George Takei officially came out in 2005 but announced that he had been in a committed relationship with his partner for 18 years. Now that Takei has come out, he has been a huge equal rights activist. I wanted to talk a little about nerd culture and I think George Takei is a very good mix of the two. He is best known for his role on Star Trek and he is looked up to by many.
Takei was first cast in 1950, a time when asian and gay actors were not given very many roles, but it wasn’t until 1965 that he was cast into Star Trek as Lt. Sulu. This role threw him into the spotlight. After years on comic cons, Takei gained a prominent social media following. He now has eight million followers on facebook and spreads his LGBTQ activism. He is even more of an LGBTQ icon because of his age. Takei just turned 78 a few weeks ago. This coupled the struggle he faced with coming out, makes him an important part of the LGBTQ nerd community.
On Proposition 8 and the election of Barack Obama, Takei made a very powerful statement:
|“Last night, I was filled with pride to be an American. It was an exhilarating night of celebration. Barack Obama’s victory was a miraculous moment in our history. It was a night of joy, yet, President-elect Obama reminded us of the long road, the steep road, that lies ahead for us as a nation. And indeed, as a Californian, I was profoundly mindful of the challenges ahead. The discriminatory Proposition 8 on the California ballot was winning. Our fight for marriage equality was going down to defeat. It was astounding to think that the hard won equality that made my recent marriage to Brad Altman would no longer be possible for others. The evening became bitter-sweet.”It is now Wednesday morning – the day after the election. The words from Barack Obama’s victory speech still resonates in my mind. What an amazing night it was – the culmination of a turbulent struggle against a disgraceful history of slavery, prejudice and racial conflict. The road ahead is long, the road will be steep, he said. Our struggles for equality for another minority, gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender, will be no different. There will be setbacks, disappointments and sacrifices to be made. Barack Obama spoke of the “renewed promise” of America. It happened last night with the presidency. And equality and justice will happen for us as well. We will make it happen. Yes we can.–George Takei, November 5, 2008|
As the social media fame continues, I hope Takei can keep being an inspiration to other LGBTQ community members who share his struggles. One of the concepts that we discussed in class is the correlation between the arts and queer individuals. Many members of our class talked about how they found something special in the art that they didn’t else where. I’m sure the experience is different for everyone, and I’m sure Takei has felt something similar.
Nerd culture, especially in the past, has been very male dominated. Movies like “Fan Boys” emphasis this domination and create a homophobic atmosphere by using words like “gay” and “queer” as derogatory terms. This is why, at least in my opinion, there have not been many openly queer nerd icons until recently. Jim Parsons, from the Big Bang Theory, Misha Collins, from Supernatural and Zachary Quinto, from the recent Star Trek, are other queer actors in the nerd realm. Hopefully more individuals can take lessons from Takei or and other queer actors and learn to be who they are.