George Takei, known most for his portrayal of Hikaru Sulu in Star Trek and his widely popular Facebook page, took part in the 40th annual Pride Parade in Seattle on Sunday, June 29, as the celebrity grand marshal.
“Well 40 years ago, what seemed unimaginable, today is reality,” said Takei, as reported by AceShowBiz via NWCN Seattle. “We look forward to the day – I think this decade – when we will indeed have the United States of America.”
The parade was also attended by the activists who organized the event 40 years ago with a $500 budget. Also in attendance were Seattle’s new police chief, Kathleen O’Toole, and Seattle’s first openly gay mayor Ed Murray who served as the event’s community grand marshal.
According to The Associated Press, the pride celebration included a day of concerts at three locations in Seattle, a “doggie drag” costume contest and thousands of other people who dressed up as well.
Takei, whose Facebook page has amassed more than 7 million followers, has long been an advocate for the LGBT community, also acting as grand marshal for the Pride Parade in Columbus, Ohio, and speaking with reporters about the “invisible barbed wire fences” that surround the LGBT population, saying, “You grow up knowing you’re different, feeling isolated and alone.”
With The Associated Press, he talked that he needed courage and anger to come out as gay and “to join the equal rights movement for sexual minorities in the U.S.” He said he was silent about being gay for decades out of fear that the revelation would hurt his acting career, but broke his silence in 2005 after then-California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger rejected a bill legalizing same-sex marriage.
Takei traces his desire to be an advocate back to the days of WWII when his family was placed in a Japanese internment camp just for their ancestry.
Image via Wikimedia Commons