Actor and activist George Takei believes there is still so much work to be done in the fight for equal rights.
The 78-year-old, who is best known for his role as senior helmsman Hikaru Sulu in the original Star Trek TV series, has been an outspoken advocate of civil rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community for years.
Although same sex marriage is now legal in the entire US after a Supreme Court ruling, many states in the country, like North Carolina, are introducing laws which make it legal to discriminate against members of the LGBT community.
While speaking to thousands of fans at the Salt Lake Comic Con’s FanXperience event on Friday (25 Mar), The Spectrum reports Takei made it clear he is absolutely disgusted by prejudiced laws and mentioned the recent legislation passed in North Carolina that targets transgender individuals
“They passed that in the dark of the night, secretly, with no public input,” George said of North Carolina’s new legislation, which gives local governments the right to discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation. “It’s those sneaky, devious approaches that they have to use now to try to get around the Supreme Court ruling. We have our struggles still ahead of us.”
In addition to his work with the LGBT community, George, a Japanese-American, has lent support to a number of anti-racist causes over the years in a bid to promote tolerance and awareness. He has used his online social media platform, including 9,000,000 likes on Facebook, to promote his innovative campaigns that increase global awareness of past and persistent issues.
Takei has not only worked alone, but alongside larger organisations. He was a spokesperson for the ‘Coming Out Project’, facilitated by the US’s largest national LGBT political organization, the Human Rights Campaign, later receiving the HRC’s Equality Award. He has also received awards from the American Humanist Association and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) for his work in promoting equality alongside embarking on a nationwide speaking tour, ‘Equality Trek’, discussing his life as a gay Japanese American.
“It was 51 years ago, in 1965, that President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Bill,” he noted. “And still, more than 51 years later, today, African Americans, Latino Americans still have barriers put up to them when they vote. The struggle continues.”
(Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)