George Takei

George Takei, the actor known to a generation as the droll Lt. Sulu on the original Star Trek television series (and later six films) gave a poignant lecture at the Dallas Museum of Art on Sunday, discussing his experience as a Japanese-American interned behind a barbed wire fence in a concentration camp in Arkansas during World War II.

But during the presentation, Takei became most spirited when addressing gay rights.

"I stand before you today also as a proud gay American," Takei said from the podium of the Horchow Theater, "and from this vantage point I still see barbed wire fences — legalistic ones.

"It is normal for patriotic Americans to serve their country in the armed services. It is normal for people who love each other" to marry and enjoy inheritance rights, he said.

But these rights are denied to gay people (including recently discharged Asian-American translator Dan Choi).

Takei invoked the events at the Rainbow Lounge in particular, calling the handling of the raid "most extraordinary."

"These things still happen today because of stereotypes," Takei said.

Takei was a guest of the Crow Collection of Asian Art, which currently houses an exhibit of art about the "yellow peril."

— Arnold Wayne Jones

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 24, 2009.

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