In 1966, George Takei, then 29, made TV history as an Asian-American actor in a leading role on a TV series, playing Lt. Hikaru Sulu on Star Trek. In October, Takei made history again by telling Los Angeles LGBT magazine Frontiers that he’s gay, in an interview about the East West Players stage production of Equus, in which he stars as psychiatrist Martin Dysart (through December 4).
You and your partner of 18 years, Brad Altman, have been out locally for years. Why did you come out now in the press?
I’ve been out for a long time—all my friends know; my partner, Brad, comes to fund-raising dinners with me. We’re recognized together [as donors to Japanese-American causes]. So we’ve been out in that respect in the Japanese-American community as well. I think it was more the political climate [that convinced me to speak to be out in the press at this time]. Society has been changing. Today gay teens are now feature stories in Time magazine—that generation thinks being gay is just a part of society. The world has changed dramatically. In my teenage days that was the most inconceivable thing. Because of the changes that are happening I see the potential for significant change—[the potential] that I might be able to contribute to the gay community as I have to the Japanese-American community and to the civil rights movement. Because of the changing public and political climate I think we need to get the numbers, and I can play a part in trying to bring some rationality to our society.
George Takei was politically active in many respects before his "coming out" about his sexual preferences. He had run for LA City Council in the 1970s, and before that he was invested in civil rights causes, specifically for reparations to Japanese-Americans deprived of their liberty and property during World War II.
Notice that he cloaks his sexual desires in the language of civil rights. Notice also that he positions himself as a champion for children.
However, how did George Takei become gay? We don't get information about his so-called sexual awakening until much later, during an interview on the Howard Stern show in 2006 (discretion advised):
Howard Stern: How were you alone? It’s summer camp.
George Takei: We were in the cabin.
Stern: And where were the other boys?
Takei: They were off hiking or something.
Stern: Do you think subconsciously you stayed behind because you wanted to be alone with him [the 19-year-old-camp counselor]?
Takei: No, there was some kind of reason why I had to be there.
Howard Stern had a guest host, Robin Quivers, and interjected questions, too:
Stern: And he sat down and he touched you… Were you molested in a sense, because you were 13?
Takei: No, no. Cause I was kind of, you know—well, I thought he was pretty attractive.
Quivers: And you wanted to know why you felt this way.
Quivers: Now wait a moment. He starts touching you how?
Stern: I don’t know if I need to hear all this.
Quivers: Does he put a hand on your knee? Or does he put his arm around your shoulder?
Takei: He puts his arm around my shoulders.
Stern: Oh yeah.
Takei: Then he started, you know, touching the private parts.
Robin Quivers: Ahh! Was he gazing into your eyes the whole time? Was he saying anything?
Takei: Oh, he was telling me about, you know, how life works.
Stern: And what did he do, did he perform oral sex on you?
Takei: It was a hand job.
Quivers: Was there kissing?
Takei: Oh, sure!
Stern: Who wants a hand job without kissing?