GEORGE TAKEI, American actor, born; a Japanese-American actor best known for his role in the TV series Star Trek, in which he played the helmsman Hikaru Sulu on the USS Enterprise. Most recently, he played Hiro Nakamura’s father Kaito Nakamura on the NBC television show, Heroes.

Takei is also known for his baritone voice and deep-throated catch phrase, “Oh my!”  In October 2005, Takei revealed in an issue of Frontiers magazine that he is Gay, and has been in a committed relationship with his partner, Brad Altman, for the last eighteen years. He said, “It’s not really coming out, which suggests opening a door and stepping through. It’s more like a long, long walk through what began as a narrow corridor that starts to widen.” Nevertheless, Takei’s sexuality had long been an open secret among Trek fans since the 1970s, and Takei did not conceal his active membership in Gay organizations including Frontrunners, where Takei met Altman, along with fellow runners Kevin and Don Norte, with whom he became friends.

“We are masculine, we are feminine, we are caring, we are abusive. We are just like straight people, in terms of our outward appearance and our behavior. The only difference is that we are oriented to people of our own gender.” This is said to have been taken from a December 2005 telephone interview with Howard Stern, in which Takei described Altman as “a saint” for helping to take care of Takei’s terminally ill mother.

Alex Cho, former editor of Frontiers, has stated that the Takei article was initiated by someone in the Takei camp when a close personal friend called the papers to ask them if they would be interested in the story. The friend remains unidentified but according to Cho, Takei offered his story voluntarily and not under any pressure from the media. Kevin Norte and Don Norte, when asked if they were involved in initiating the article, declined to comment.

When asked whether his character Sulu was Gay, Takei’s response was that he would like to believe that sexual orientation would not even be an issue in the twenty-third century. Of all the show’s principal characters, Sulu was the only male never depicted with a romantic interest; having said that, in the alternate universe depicted in “Mirror Mirror”, alternate-Sulu tried many times to seduce Uhura, and “normal” Sulu is revealed to have fathered a daughter, Demora, during the opening sequence of the film Star Trek Generations (Demora’s origins were further explored in Peter David’s novel Captain’s Daughter).