By Trudy Ring
Originally published on Advocate.com January 18 2013 1:28 PM ET
Jodie Foster’s Golden Globes coming-out speech has been criticized as a waffling half-measure or “too little, too late,” but out actor George Takei says we shouldn’t judge because we haven’t “walked in her shoes.”
On his website, Takei writes, “Remember that this is someone who has spent all of her life in the public eye, and even had a stalker try to kill a president just to impress her. Until we have walked in her shoes, we cannot know her heart. So often in the LGBT community we want our heroes to be superhuman, and to do what millions still are unable to do, which is to live openly and proudly with their own identities, even with all cameras rolling. Most of us can relate to how difficult it was to come out even to our own friends and families; imagine then, if you will, how much courage it takes to face the judgment of the world. So before we rend apart our own with much wringing of hands and gnashing of our collective teeth, and ask why someone like Jodie Foster could not simply say the words, ‘I am a lesbian’ on the night of her acceptance speech, let us instead each do our own part.”
He also reminds straight readers, “It isn’t helpful to believe or announce that it ‘doesn’t matter’ whether someone else is gay. ... So long as there is prejudice and inequality, it will continue to matter.” And to gay readers, he says, “Coming out is always a personal step, and one that is as different for each of us as our very life experiences are.”
In an interview with HLN’s Showbiz Tonight, Takei says her speech was “eloquently awkward,” but “each one of the moments that she hit was deeply moving.” For Foster, giving the speech at the Globes while receiving a life achievement award was undoubtedly a “nerve-racking process,” he says, and he adds that he embraces her “with open arms” and encourages others to do so. Watch below.