Veteran Star Trek star George Takei, who for four decades played the Starship Enterprise's helmsman Sulu on the small and big screens, has come out as a gay man in the current issue of Frontiers, a biweekly Los Angeles magazine covering the gay and lesbian community.
Takei, 68, credited his current stage role as a "very contained but turbulently frustrated man" in a West Coast production of the drama Equus as helping inspire him to discuss his sexuality publicly.
"The world has changed from when I was a young teen feeling ashamed for being gay," Takei tells the Associated Press. "The issue of gay marriage is now a political issue. That would have been unthinkable when I was young."
The actor, a Japanese-American who lived in a U.S. internment camp from age 4 to 8, said he grew up feeling ashamed of his ethnicity and sexuality.
Likening prejudice against gays to racial segregation, Takei, who has been with his partner, Brad Altman, for 18 years, says: "It's against basic decency and what American values stand for."