Celebvocate: George Takei on LGBT rights

October 18, 2013
George Takei at the National Press Club (Noel St. John)
George Takei at the National Press Club (Noel St. John)

One in an occasional series on the stars who bring their causes to Washington. Friday’s visitor: George Takei

Setting: A crowded National Press Club luncheon

Bona fides: Famously known as Sulu from the “Star Trek” franchise; countless TV cameos, including a stint on “Heroes.” National Press Club president called him a “kitschy ’60s throwback.”

What he wants: Equality for the LGBT community. Although 13 states (and D.C.) have legalized same-sex marriage, he pointed out, there’s a long way to go. “Our work is not done yet,” he said.

How he looked: Dapper, in a suit jacket and tie. Also, great for age 76.

How he sounded: Eloquent, solemn, spoke for 40 minutes without any notes. Managed to pepper in jokes on some very serious topics. He walked through the history of gay rights in America; his own experience coming to terms with his sexuality as a young man, deciding to come out publicly in 2005, and becoming an outspoken activist. Takei and his husband, Brad (in attendance), were the first same-sex couple to get a marriage license in West Hollywood, back in 2008. He cited plenty of stats, such as 78 percent of people under age 39 in California support marriage equality. “I love young people, especially young, straight couples,” he said. “They’re going to be making the gay babies of tomorrow.”

Soundbite: Describing his morning spent sightseeing, he couldn’t help but make a crack about the Capitol: “I looked far beyond [the Washington Monument], and I saw the national nuthouse.”

Read more about recent celebvocates and even more about celebvocates from past years.

More Reliable Source: Stephen Colbert; Michelle Obama; Michael Bay; Anthony Weiner; Tip and the Gipper; Kim Kardashian; Kerry Washington; Harry Belafonte; Female diplomats; Hillary Clinton

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Emily Yahr | October 18, 2013