"You are the real McCoy. You are really boldly going where no man has gone before," said George Takei, An actor who portrayed Lieutenant Sulu on Star Trek. Takei spoke at NASA Ames Research Center on Oct. 11, 2007 as part of National Coming Out Day. When Takei recently visited the NASA Kennedy Space Center and toured the space shuttle Discovery, he was surprised to find that the people who work at NASA consider the people who work on Star Trek heroes. Yet he considers the people who work at NASA the real heroes of our time.
Takei recently had an asteroid named after him in honor of his work with the Human Rights Campaign and the Japanese Americans Citizen League. He is the only openly gay person ever to have an asteroid bear his name.
On Star Trek, they had a "Vulcan" word called idic, meaning infinite diversity infinite combinations. "There is strength in diversity," said Takei, whose identity as a gay man made headlines when it became known publicly in the fall of 2005. However, Takei discussed the "laws that have become our barbed wire in the gay community. It is normal for two people who love each other to want to be together through sickness and health, through thick and thin, to share property, insurance, and pension. Or to serve in the military without private lives becoming an issue...Those barbed wire fences will be torn down."
As a child, George Takei spent some time in the Japanese internment camps. He went to school every morning and said the pledge of allegiance, with "liberty and justice for all," while looking at the inside of a barbed wire fence. Takei discussed the 442nd regional combat team, which was a group of Japanese Americans who joined the Army leaving their family behind in these incarceration camps.
"They put on the same uniform as the people who had imprisoned them to serve their country. They suffered the highest casualty rate. Their motto was 'Go for broke' as they had nothing to lose." In 2000, Takei had the opportunity to meet some of these men, as they were being awarded a medal of honor half a century after serving their country. These men had become "frail" but Takei was filled with an "indescribable mix of emotions by their amazing patriotism under unbelievable circumstances."