George Takei, who came out in 2005, revealed why he remained closeted for such a long time in an interview with the Huffington Post.
Takei says that despite being so vocal on numerous other issues he was not able to voice his sexual orientation in the same way.
“My father told me about American democracy,” Takei says. “And he said you have to be actively engaged in the political process to make our democracy work. So I’ve been doing that my entire life. Civil rights movement. The peace movement during the Vietnam conflict. The movement to get an apology and redress for Japanese-Americans. But I was silent on that one issue that was closest to me.”
The “Star Trek” actor, 78, continued on that fear for his career was a large part of why he was afraid to come out. He said he paid attention to the demise of actor Tab Hunter, who was publicly outed and his career suffered.
“[It was] most excruciating for me, because I wanted to be an actor,” Takei says. “And if I wanted that career, I had to be closeted. Because when I was a teenager, there was a heartthrob named Tab Hunter. People today might not recognize that name. He was a blond, stunningly handsome boy next door. All American movie star guy. Every other movie coming from Warner Brothers studio starred Tab Hunter. But Confidential magazine exposed him as gay. And suddenly he faded.”
Takei was also afraid his career would lead to him being outed to his father.
“Particularly because being an actor you’re public and visible. I could be seen coming out of a gay bar. Who could have seen me?…So you’re always on guard. You’re always, you know, insecure. And that affected my life very much. And it was such a relief to be out and not be looking over your shoulder, tightly gripped all the time.”
Takei is currently starring in the Broadway musical”Allegiance” inspired by his family’s lives as Japanese-Americans and were interned during World War II.