The first time I met George Takei I was too terrified to speak. My brother had to drag me toward the desk where he was sitting, and took on the responsibility to communicate that we were hoping he would sign a photo for my Mum. When told she had been feeding us Star Trek since our early years he let out a great chuckle and said, in that singular, rich, resonant voice:
Raising you the right way!
He was right: Star Trek is a fantastic way to raise kids. The vision of creator Gene Roddenberry is the most potent artistic expression of Humanist values I know, and its quality – terrible special effects notwithstanding – endures to this day.
Takei is an inspiration to me: actor, humanitarian, gay rights activist and one-man internet meme-generator. He, more than any of the original cast of Star Trek, embodies the principles expressed in the show. His personal story – from WW2 era internment camps to worldwide stardom – is utterly riveting, and so well-told. Takei simply enchants in this interview with Tom Ashbrook on On Point. If you have an hour, any time, just listen. Please.
The second time I met Takei, at a Star Trek convention in Las Vegas last year, it was as a proud, out, gay man. Openly gay role models like Takei helped me come to terms with my own sexuality. Star Trek helped me define my Humanist values. I owe so much to this man.
We took this photo: