George Takei Pitched a Gay-Themed Star Trek Episode but the Idea was Shot Down, Actor Says

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Ever wondered what your favourite shows would be like if they were exactly as they are now…but gayer?

Plenty of us are guilty of that in this day and age because it seems antiquated for shows to cover the struggles of every heterosexual character yet simultaneously fail to address the issues of those who are anything other than straight, or just failing to introduce queer characters altogether.

George Takei is of this thinking too it seems as the actor, who is best known for playing Hikaru Sulu in the hit sci-fi TV series, Star Trek, revealed in a recent interview that he once even pitched a gay-themed episode of the show in an effort to get Star Trek to tackle the important subjects.

On an episode of Real Time with Bill Maher, the actor noted that Star Trek was well-known for how it pushed the boat out on issues like race, with Takei referring to a scene in which (interracial characters) Kirk and Uhura kissed that was so controversial – specifically in the conservative South – that the scene was “blacked out” there and the show’s ratings “plummeted”, he says. As for how he’d wanted homosexuality to be covered on the show (the 60s – the decade in which Star Trek aired – were far less progressive than in 2014), Takei suggested that it be addressed in a metaphor,

“Using a metaphor. [Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry] said ‘I know we do use metaphors to deal with contemporary issues’, but he was treading a very tight rope because of the fact that he was dealing with issues. Television is not known for dealing with contemporary issues. He said that if we pushed the envelope too far, then we wouldn’t be able to deal with any issues at all”

George Takei

While that’s unfortunate, Takei says that at the time, he shrugged off the reaction “because [he knew the reality of television.” He also took solace in the fact that almost all of his Star Trek cast members knew he was gay (Takei did not publicly come out until 2005) bar William Shatner, whom the actor has been feuding with for the better part of 40 years,

“My colleagues did know I was gay, but they were cool about it. Except for one member of the cast [Shatner]… it went right over his head. He was the only one who didn’t know.”

George Takei

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If only the world was as “open-minded” as us… Alas, matters of sexual identity and equal love, often cause so much friction in the rest of the world. Here, find an open dialogue on the issues facing our LGBT community.

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