George Takei, Star Trek’s Sulu, Discloses Homosexuality

George Takei, who played Hikaru Sulu in the original “Star Trek” and its six motion pictures, disclosed today that he is homosexual.

George Takei Discloses His Homosexuality (AP)

Photo Actor George Takei greets the crowd with the Vulcan greeting as he arrives at the 'Star Trek; 30 Years and Beyond' tribute at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles in this Sunday, Oct. 6, 1996 file photo. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes) George Takei, best known for his role as Mr. Sulu in “Star Trek,” came out as homosexual in the current issue of a magazine covering the Los Angeles gay and lesbian community. Takei told The Associated Press on Thursday that his new onstage role as psychologist Martin Dysart in “Equus,” helped inspire him to publicly discuss his sexuality. Takei described the character as a “very contained but turbulently frustrated man.” The play opened Wednesday at the David Henry Hwang Theater in Los Angeles, the same day that Frontiers magazine featured a story on Takei’s coming out.

The current social and political climate also motivated Takei’s disclosure, he said. “The world has changed from when I was a young teen feeling ashamed for being gay,” he said. “The issue of gay marriage is now a political issue. That would have been unthinkable when I was young.” The 68-year-old actor said he and his partner, Brad Altman, have been together for 18 years.

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.

Takei joined the “Star Trek” cast in 1966 as Hikaru Sulu, a character he played for three seasons on television and in six subsequent films. He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1986.

Clearly, given that he has been with Altman for longer than most married couples, his orientation has been an open secret among those who knew him for quite some time.

One wonders, though, why they could not find a better picture of the man than this 1996 file photo. He has been in front of the camera on a regular basis for four decades, after all.

Update (Oct. 28, 0708): Kevin Aylward has a vintage photograph that also seems amusing in this context.


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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. That’s like Grant Hill disclosing that he’s injury-prone. Not exactly a state secret.

  2. Everett W. says:

    Is there any even lukewarm “Star Trek” follower who didn’t know this? All the best to the man and his partner but this hardly qualifies as a revelation.

  3. ICallMasICM says:


  4. KipEsquire says:

    Clearly, given that he has been with Altman for longer than most married couples, his orientation has been an open secret among those who knew him for quite some time.

    There’s a huge difference between “everyone knows” and “he told everyone.” Case in point: Ed Koch.

    Oh, and wasn’t it an “open secret” that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA and that “all her neighbors knew”?

  5. sortapundit says:

    I think he was waiting for Scotty to die before coming out. He wouldn’t have taken any of this nancy-boy bullshit. He’d just have taken a few stiff belts of scotch and violently sodomised Takei until he got it out of his system.

    But then, Scotty always was an unpredictable psycho.

  6. Anderson says:

    Well, I was a lukewarm Star Trek watcher and didn’t know Sulu was gay. Then again, I’m still trying to grasp that Bob Fosse was straight.

  7. Slion says:

    This is disgusting. Where is Dobson? First we had the gay agenda being promoted in SpongeBob Square Pants–now it is Star Trek. I think a wholesale boycott of Hollywood is in order before the homosexual agenda turns us all into gays.

  8. Anderson says:

    Well, Star Trek has always been suspiciously into tolerance. And it’s downright blasphemous to suggest that Jesus won’t have returned by the 23d century or whenever.

  9. M-tw says:

    Well – I am a more than lukewarm follower of Star Trek and I did not know GEORGE was gay, nor do I care much, but I don’t think SULU was gay the NETWORK would not have ALLOWED it.{g}
    Following Star Trek is not the same as following all the cast and crew, sheesh!

  10. Infidel says:

    I’m a ST fan, I didn’t know he was gay, Sulu could have been bi, or came out late (he had a daughter at least), and don’t call him “Tiny”.

    Actually, ST never really handled homosexuality well, until Babylon 5 did, and that was DS9. As long as Roddenberry (Rest His Soul) was alive nothing marred his characters. There is debate about how TNG never handled the subject squarely (no pun). I got tired of ST’s universe where all problems had been solved, so no one had to discuss them on the show.