On November 8th, George Takei, one of the well-known actors from the movie “Star Trek”, visited Japan to exchange opinions with Diet members and also made his speech at the seminar held by Waseda University Gender Sexuality Center.
The main purpose of his visit to Japan was to promote his new musical, “Allegiance”, which is based on his experience of Japanese internment.
Mr. Takei says that he experienced discrimination as he grew up gay.
In the 1950s and 1960s, the only place where he could be who he really was was the gay bar where a lot of his friends gathered. However, Mr. Takei and his friends were always afraid of the police’s discriminatory investigation that forcefully arrested gay people. When their family or friends found out that they had been arrested in a gay bar, they could have lost their jobs and could have been even abandoned by their family. Some of his friends killed themselves after they got arrested.
“I was treated badly and unfairly both as a Japanese American and as a gay man in my life. Like they took all the good things from my parents’ lives, they took everything from mine and my friends’, too. We weren’t hurting anyone. We were just having a nice time with people that we cared about. But, thepolice all treated us like criminals and tried to arrest us. Discrimination comes from ignorance. Ignorance starts growing in people’s mind when they stop thinking and embracing differences everyone has. People were scared of admitting who they really were and standing up for what was right”, Mr.Takei said.
Many people gathered at the Gender Sexuality Center to listen to his story.
The following is the message that he sent to Diet Members.
“I can see Rainbow Bridge from my hotel room. Rainbow is made of many colors and becomes a bridge. Rainbow has a very special meaning to all the people like me. When I came to Tokyo three years ago, I heard the news that Japan’s first lady, Abe Akie, attended Tokyo Rainbow Parade. First Ladies have never attended a pride parade in America. It’s a wonderful thing that you have already gained such support. That’s why I strongly hope Japan will have become a country where sexual diversity is well embraced by the time of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.”