George Takei, best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu in the Star Trek television series, showed his LGBT pride in Seattle on Sunday when he served as the celebrity grand marshal for the 40th annual Pride Parade.
Takei did not reveal that he was gay until 2005 when he told Frontiers magazine that he had been in a committed relationship with his partner, Brad Altman, for 18 years.
“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 parade, which took place along Fourth Avenue in Seatlle, also featured rapper Macklemore, whose hit song "Same Love" talks about how love between two people should not be judged.
"Well 40 years ago, what seemed unimaginable, today is reality," said Takei, "We look forward to the day - I think this decade - when we will indeed have the United States of America."
Takei's husband, Brad, joined him at the parade.
But America isn't the only place that Takei is fighting for gay rights. Though they have a long way to go, the 77-year old actor said that he has noticed a movement beginning in Japan.
Earlier in June, after meeting with Japanese activists for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights, and even some parents fighting for their children, Takei said that the Japanese people need to fight for themselves, even if means becoming a bit angry at times.
“They have to have courage to come out and share their lives honestly,” he said. Once they get a ball rolling, more movement would follow, like “a ripple effect” that spreads, he added. “So I’m optimistic. I do think that Japan will be one of the nations that have equality and that too will serve as an example for other Asian nations.”
In Japan, Takei attended embassy-organized events marking LGBT Pride Month in the United States and gave a toast to gay rights alongside Akie Abe, Japan's first lady.
“There should not be any discrimination because who you love,” Abe said. “I am going to raise my voice. If my raised voice could contribute to the pride of LGBT people, there is no greater joy.”
Akie Abe was the first Japanese first lady in history to participate in a LGBT march.
Takei can soon be seen in the bio-doc To Be Takei, a film which follows the actor from his days in internment camps to his rise as a 1970s sex symbol, when it hits theaters this August.
Image via YouTube