1. George Takei became famous for his role in Star Trek as Mr. Sulu, but in the last decade, he’s drawn followers who admire him because of who he is—not just who he has played. The new documentary about his life is called To Be Takei.
He joins Fresh Air to talk about growing up in a Japanese internment camp, avoiding stereotypical roles, and coming out as gay at 68. 
Here he explains why he was closeted for most of his life: 

The thing that affected me in the early part of my career was … there was a very popular box office movie star — blonde, good-looking, good actor — named Tab Hunter. He was in almost every other movie that came out. He was stunningly good-looking and all-American in looks. And then one of the scandals sheets of that time — sort of like The Inquirertoday — exposed him as gay. And suddenly and abruptly, his career came to a stop.That was, to me, chilling and stunning. I was a young no-name actor, aspiring to build this career — and I knew that [if] it were known that I was gay, then there would be no point to my pursuing that career. I desperately and passionately wanted a career as an actor, so I chose to be in the closet. I lived a double life. And that means you always have your guard up. And it’s a very, very difficult and challenging way to live a life.

Photo by Kevin Scanlon via LA Weekly  View in High-Res

    George Takei became famous for his role in Star Trek as Mr. Sulu, but in the last decade, he’s drawn followers who admire him because of who he is—not just who he has played. The new documentary about his life is called To Be Takei.

    He joins Fresh Air to talk about growing up in a Japanese internment camp, avoiding stereotypical roles, and coming out as gay at 68. 

    Here he explains why he was closeted for most of his life: 

    The thing that affected me in the early part of my career was … there was a very popular box office movie star — blonde, good-looking, good actor — named Tab Hunter. He was in almost every other movie that came out. He was stunningly good-looking and all-American in looks. And then one of the scandals sheets of that time — sort of like The Inquirertoday — exposed him as gay. And suddenly and abruptly, his career came to a stop.

    That was, to me, chilling and stunning. I was a young no-name actor, aspiring to build this career — and I knew that [if] it were known that I was gay, then there would be no point to my pursuing that career. I desperately and passionately wanted a career as an actor, so I chose to be in the closet. I lived a double life. And that means you always have your guard up. And it’s a very, very difficult and challenging way to live a life.

    Photo by Kevin Scanlon via LA Weekly 

  2. george takei

    to be takei

    star trek

    lgbt

    hollywood

    fresh air

    terry gross

    interview

  1. Project Runway’s Tim Gunn spoke to Terry Gross about being gay in the ’60s and ’70s vs. being gay today: 

"[In] the late 1960s going into the early ’70s, [being gay] was considered to be something you ‘fixed.’ This was an adolescent psychiatric hospital, so people were teens into early 20s, and there were some people there who were there to have their gayness ‘fixed.’ So for me, it was like treating a disease — you have to do something about it. … I remember thinking, ‘I have enough issues without adding this to the list.’ I thought, ‘Oh, God, but for the grace of God, there go I.’
On the one hand, I’m not envious of any young person who is going through a struggle with their sexual identity, I’m not envious at all — but on the other hand, there’s so many more and more positive role models these days. When I was kid, who were the gay people? They were the decorators in the Doris Day movies, they’re the fashion designers, they’re flitting about. I mean, I think about Paul Lynde on Bewitched, I mean, he was a caricature. And today, we recognize that every flavor of humanity comes in every possible size, and color, and shape, and we have so much more awareness of the diversity of everyone. Whenever anyone tries to stereotype gay men, it’s like, ‘Wait a minute, there’s just as many who live like slobs!’”


The premiere of season 13 of Project Runway aired last night.  View in High-Res

    Project Runway’s Tim Gunn spoke to Terry Gross about being gay in the ’60s and ’70s vs. being gay today: 

    "[In] the late 1960s going into the early ’70s, [being gay] was considered to be something you ‘fixed.’ This was an adolescent psychiatric hospital, so people were teens into early 20s, and there were some people there who were there to have their gayness ‘fixed.’ So for me, it was like treating a disease — you have to do something about it. … I remember thinking, ‘I have enough issues without adding this to the list.’ I thought, ‘Oh, God, but for the grace of God, there go I.’

    On the one hand, I’m not envious of any young person who is going through a struggle with their sexual identity, I’m not envious at all — but on the other hand, there’s so many more and more positive role models these days. When I was kid, who were the gay people? They were the decorators in the Doris Day movies, they’re the fashion designers, they’re flitting about. I mean, I think about Paul Lynde on Bewitched, I mean, he was a caricature. And today, we recognize that every flavor of humanity comes in every possible size, and color, and shape, and we have so much more awareness of the diversity of everyone. Whenever anyone tries to stereotype gay men, it’s like, ‘Wait a minute, there’s just as many who live like slobs!’”

    The premiere of season 13 of Project Runway aired last night. 

  2. tim gunn

    fashion

    LGBT

    project runway

    fresh air

    interview

  1. The new book Trans Bodies, Trans Selves is a collection of essays describing the varied experiences of trans people — and the social, political and medical issues they face. It’s written by and for transgender and gender non-conforming people.
We speak to the editor and two contributors about the book and their experiences. 
Jennifer Finney Boylan wrote the introduction to the book. She is a trans woman. In the interview we discuss transgender surgery: 

"The question of surgery is an interesting one for a couple of other reasons. For one thing, it’s the thing that traditionally in the media always gets fixated on, the question of, "Tell us about the surgery. What happens in the surgery? Have you had the surgery?"
And transgender people have, for decades, offered up their most private selves as fodder for these kinds of interviews. …But we’re trying to get to a place now where when we talk about transgender people, it’s not a conversation about a trip to the doctor’s office. And, to some degree, what is private for everyone else ought to be private for us as well.”


Photo: Transgender author and Colby College English professor Jennifer Finney Boylan, shown in Belgrade Lakes, wrote the introduction to “Trans Bodies, Trans Selves.” The Associated Press View in High-Res

    The new book Trans Bodies, Trans Selves is a collection of essays describing the varied experiences of trans people — and the social, political and medical issues they face. It’s written by and for transgender and gender non-conforming people.

    We speak to the editor and two contributors about the book and their experiences. 

    Jennifer Finney Boylan wrote the introduction to the book. She is a trans woman. In the interview we discuss transgender surgery: 

    "The question of surgery is an interesting one for a couple of other reasons. For one thing, it’s the thing that traditionally in the media always gets fixated on, the question of, "Tell us about the surgery. What happens in the surgery? Have you had the surgery?"

    And transgender people have, for decades, offered up their most private selves as fodder for these kinds of interviews. …But we’re trying to get to a place now where when we talk about transgender people, it’s not a conversation about a trip to the doctor’s office. And, to some degree, what is private for everyone else ought to be private for us as well.”

    Photo: Transgender author and Colby College English professor Jennifer Finney Boylan, shown in Belgrade Lakes, wrote the introduction to “Trans Bodies, Trans Selves.” The Associated Press

  2. trans

    transgender

    LGBT

    gender

  1. In her new book Forcing the Spring, investigative reporter Jo Becker tells the behind-the-scenes story of an important chapter in the fight for marriage equality. She embedded with the team that challenged Proposition 8 — the 2008 anti-gay marriage California ballot initiative that called for amending the state constitution to say that the state would only recognize marriage between a man and a woman. 
The strategy of going to the Supreme Court was controversial within the gay community. If the courts weren’t ready for the litigation it could’ve caused a huge set-back, upholding bans like Proposition 8 for years to come: 

"The gay rights community had a strategy going in, they thought that they needed to have 30 states with some form of recognition — whether that be marriage, whether it be civil unions — but they wanted to have 30 states signed on before they went to the federal courts. What was really interesting to me is the echoes of the kind of similar debate that took place in the previous century over the civil rights fights that African Americans waged. There were people who thought, "You’re moving too fast! The courts aren’t ready!" back then."

photo via Huffington Post View in High-Res

    In her new book Forcing the Spring, investigative reporter Jo Becker tells the behind-the-scenes story of an important chapter in the fight for marriage equality. She embedded with the team that challenged Proposition 8 — the 2008 anti-gay marriage California ballot initiative that called for amending the state constitution to say that the state would only recognize marriage between a man and a woman. 

    The strategy of going to the Supreme Court was controversial within the gay community. If the courts weren’t ready for the litigation it could’ve caused a huge set-back, upholding bans like Proposition 8 for years to come: 

    "The gay rights community had a strategy going in, they thought that they needed to have 30 states with some form of recognition — whether that be marriage, whether it be civil unions — but they wanted to have 30 states signed on before they went to the federal courts. What was really interesting to me is the echoes of the kind of similar debate that took place in the previous century over the civil rights fights that African Americans waged. There were people who thought, "You’re moving too fast! The courts aren’t ready!" back then."

    photo via Huffington Post

  2. LGBT

    gay rights

    marriage equality

    proposition 8

    supreme court

    jo becker

  1. Masha Gessen is a prominent journalist who is also a lesbian and an outspoken LGBT rights advocate in Russia. She and her partner and children left for New York following the anti-gay laws that affect LGBT families. Today on Fresh Air she discusses consequences of these laws:

What [the anti-gay propaganda law] means is that any portrayal of LGBT people, LGBT relationships and LGBT families is now illegal in Russia if it’s accessible to minors, which of course is a problem for LGBT families because we are ourselves examples of LGBT families and are by definition accessible to minors who live in our own homes.
So the natural consequence of these laws is a campaign against LGBT parents which began with the second law, … which is a ban on adoptions by same-sex couples or single people from countries where same-sex marriage is legal. … It’s not just new adoptions, it can be used retroactively to annul adoptions that have already taken place.

… It’s Putin’s effort to shore up his constituency around this very vague but very potent idea of traditional values — the Russian family, the orthodox religion — and against the West. Nobody represents the alien West in Russia better than LGBT people do.

Part of the reason for that is because there was never any conversation about sex and sexual orientation in Russia. While the Western world was having the sexual revolution, we were having the Soviet Union. So this is really the first time that issues of sexuality, as absurd as that sounds, have been brought up in the public arena in Russia.


image via the huffinton post View in High-Res

    Masha Gessen is a prominent journalist who is also a lesbian and an outspoken LGBT rights advocate in Russia. She and her partner and children left for New York following the anti-gay laws that affect LGBT families. Today on Fresh Air she discusses consequences of these laws:

    What [the anti-gay propaganda law] means is that any portrayal of LGBT people, LGBT relationships and LGBT families is now illegal in Russia if it’s accessible to minors, which of course is a problem for LGBT families because we are ourselves examples of LGBT families and are by definition accessible to minors who live in our own homes.

    So the natural consequence of these laws is a campaign against LGBT parents which began with the second law, … which is a ban on adoptions by same-sex couples or single people from countries where same-sex marriage is legal. … It’s not just new adoptions, it can be used retroactively to annul adoptions that have already taken place.

    … It’s Putin’s effort to shore up his constituency around this very vague but very potent idea of traditional values — the Russian family, the orthodox religion — and against the West. Nobody represents the alien West in Russia better than LGBT people do.

    Part of the reason for that is because there was never any conversation about sex and sexual orientation in Russia. While the Western world was having the sexual revolution, we were having the Soviet Union. So this is really the first time that issues of sexuality, as absurd as that sounds, have been brought up in the public arena in Russia.

    image via the huffinton post

  2. fresh air

    masha gessen

    lgbt

    russia

    putin

    anti-gay laws

  1. I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, “I’m different.” If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand.

    — "Why NBA Center Jason Collins Is Coming Out Now" by Jason Collins with Franz Lidz in Sports Illustrated

  2. Jason Collins

    NBA

    Sports Illustrated

    LGBT

  1. There really is a festival in Seattle, and it’s called HUMP!, and it was founded a few years ago by Dan Savage, and it really is this idea of having fun with your sexuality and being an exhibitionist just for a night — instead of this mainstream porn industry, actually celebrating sexuality on screen in a more personal and artistic and maybe comedic way. And I had a friend who went to the festival and saw gay porn for the first time. And he was really fascinated by it. And I saw his response as a straight guy to this gay porn was really interesting, and that was where the wheels started turning for me. I thought, ‘Well, this relationship between straight men and gayness in general is really rich territory.’

    — Lynn Shelton on her 2009 film Humpday.

  2. lynn shelton

    hump

    seattle

    dan savage

    lgbt

  1. I had read a beautiful story in The New York Times about the couple who were getting married, and that Mayor Bloomberg was going to preside over their wedding at Gracie Mansion. And my friend called me and said, ‘They’d love to have you come and sing.’ And I was floored. I was so honored. And I cried like a baby at that ceremony. And I brought my daughter. And it was a very moving moment and a very teachable moment having my daughter there. And as far as she was concerned, it was just another wedding. She doesn’t really see the issue, which is great. So that’s how it came about. It was a beautiful day.

    — Audra McDonald on performing at the first legal gay wedding in New York City. [full interview here]

  2. audra mcdonald

    lgbt

    marriage equality

    new york city

  1. I miss a lot of it. I still work closely with the Church. I still have family in the Church. I think that they need to move on gay and lesbian issues, and I keep those channels of communication open in hopes that we can understand each other better and create that change. … I feel like it is a religion that has shown an ability to change with the times and I hope they do so on gay and lesbian issues. Because they’ve hurt a lot of young people in this country. They hurt me with the words I heard in the church on Sundays. And I think with understanding, it can [change].

    — Screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, on the Mormon Church.

  2. mormon church

    dustin lance black

    lgbt

  1. We have a generational divide in terms of vocabulary. People ask him, ‘Do you think J. Edgar Hoover was gay?’ And he says, ‘I don’t know.’ And for a man who just directed this film, that’s a surprising answer, because I think the audience walks away with a clear impression [that he was]. But for Clint Eastwood and his generation, to be gay means a sexual act. And for him to know means that he would need proof of that sexual act. And I’ve had this conversation, and I’ve said, ‘For my generation, you don’t ever have to have sex to be gay or lesbian. It’s a part of your nature. It’s who you are. It’s who you bond with, who you fall in love with.’ So we have a divide in terms of vocabulary.

    — Dustin Lance Black on how he and Clint Eastwood, who directed the film, differed on their vocabulary

  2. dustin lance black

    clint eastwood

    lgbt

    j. edgar

  1. veronica-wasboyski:

    Dustin Lance Black | Best Original Screenplay- Milk | 2009

    Remember this? It breaks my heart every time I watch it.

    If Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago, I think he would want me to say to all the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told they are less than by the churches, by the government, by their families, that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value, and that no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you and that very soon, I promise you, you will have equal rights, federally, across this great nation of ours.

    On today’s Fresh Air, Dustin Lance Black talks about crafting the story of J. Edgar

  2. dustin lance black

    j. edgar

    lgbt

  1. Today we’re talking to screenwriter Dustin Lance Black about his movie J. Edgar. He was on Fresh Air once before, in 2008, to talk about how Harvey Milk helped him come out. Thought I’d post it in case you’d like to listen to it.

  2. lgbt history

    harvey milk

    dustin lance black

    milk

    lgbt

  1. This is a man who had defused himself, who had tamped down his desires. And when he came out, it was the beginning of him becoming more vivid and hot and present, which was often messy but always wonderful.

    — Filmmaker Mike Mills talks about his father, who came out when he was 75.

  2. mike mills

    lgbt

    beginners

  1. Air Force 1st Lt. Josh Seefried: "When ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ existed,  everyone was assumed to be straight. The discrimination  was invisible. So when you were kicking out someone from the military,  everyone got to turn an eye to it. But now that there’s actually openly  gay troops, that’s visible. And it’s very different how gay troops are  being treated than straight troops.” View in High-Res

    Air Force 1st Lt. Josh Seefried: "When ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ existed, everyone was assumed to be straight. The discrimination was invisible. So when you were kicking out someone from the military, everyone got to turn an eye to it. But now that there’s actually openly gay troops, that’s visible. And it’s very different how gay troops are being treated than straight troops.”

  2. don't ask don't tell

    josh seefried

    outserve

    lgbt

    military

  1. Posted on 11 October, 2011

    20,578 notes | Permalink

    Reblogged from gayfaith

    Barack Obama signs the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell into law

    Tomorrow: 1st Lt. Josh Seefried and 1st Lt. Karl Johnson on the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Seefried blogged under the pseudonym JD Smith (for The Daily Beast) and Johnson wrote under the pseudonym Officer X (for Time) before DADT was repealed. Seefried is one of the co creators of OutServe

  2. barack obama

    dadt

    don't ask don't tell

    lgbt

    obama