Wednesday, September 04, 2013

It Really is Okay to Be Takaei! Or a Supporter.

We'll.have to work on a name for that. Right now it's the Takei Straight Alliance. And, in fact, that's how this post started out. As a response to questions people had and comments they made about some T-shirts George Takei sells and is promoting. But, again I digressed off topic. Well, not really so much off topic but deeper than I needed to go, addressing social issues instead of just merchandising. So I brought my comments over here to share. This started as a Facebook post and is straight off the cuff. I will probably go over it tomorrow, make some minor changes, maybe add some major thoughts. But here it is for now, in all its naked glory. Don't worry. I used that term figuratively, not literally. There will be no naked pictures accompanying this article. None.

From Facebook, George Takei's page:
Uncle George, it seems the shirts are being printed as ordered. That means there's no pre-printed stock. It shouldn't be difficult, using this business strategy, to allow larger sizes at an extra $1-2 and to have them change the type color on the white shirts to a readable color, like pink or purple. Just add a comments section where people can make those requests. Of course there would be an upcharge for larger sizes because of the extra material and specialty small runs. But changing the type color on the white shirt should be free. I am assuming, since they don't print in bulk but as orders are received, this is a company similar to Cafe Press, which can be very versatile in providing the exact product you want by making necessary changes.  You could also offer a lesser quality t-shirt to help reduce the price. Some of the shirts I have received in exchange for donations were made in African countries with thin cotton and smaller sizing. I don't mind. I just order a larger size and, if necessary, wear a plain t-shirt underneath for warmth. The point isn't really to "dress well" but to vocally, financially, and proudly show support for what you believe in, and to spark discussion with others about the issue. I have spoken to tens of people about and a couple have joined up. Hopefully, when I get your shirt in a couple of weeks the same will happen.

Thank you for your efforts and for providing this space that breaks the ice, often with humor, to allow people to participate in open discourse in an honest and non-threatening way. It helps us straights know about the hidden issues LGBTs experience, it allows LGBTs to constructively criticize how we act, what we should or shouldn't do, what might make things worse instead of better, what makes things even better than good. We can ask questions with little fear of embarrassment -though there's always that one asshole...

Uncle George, who knows the importance of a safe haven, providing a virtual cyber haven for hundreds of thousands of people. I especially like to see folks, gay and straight, coming here from other countries and sharing their experiences. Here in the US the issue of marriage equality is currently at the forefront. But as was so brutally brought back to the front in NYC is that there is still homophobia bubbling under the surface. While we have made strides towards acceptance, even though some is passive or just apathy, there is still prejudice and still machismo that turns that prejudice to brutal violence.

But now we've reached a point where we have made enough progress in the US that we can look and "work"  elsewhere and share our experiences with LGBT and straight alliances about how to deal with every level of harassment, how to provide safe havens and let those in need know how to reach them, show people how to act in public based on what is culturally acceptable even while trying to change the culture. It will be more difficult in many other countries with mono-cultural control rather than in a multi-cultured country like the US or Canada.

It will be especially difficult in places like Russia where homophobia is legalized, and where violence against is becoming commonplace; the LGBT and Straight Alliance can and will be violently attacked by vigilantes who know they can use brutality with impunity. And they do. And on the one hand we want to just get all the LGBT peoples out of Russia, give them asylum, 'help' them. But that creates at least as much pain and problems as it would solve. Many of these people love their country, are proud Russians, except for how they are being perceived and treated because of their orientation/gender issues or their support of thse in that microcosm of society being singled out. But many would rather stay and fight. The way blacks and whites fought our US Civil War and 100 years later for Civil Rights. It IS. A worthy cause, and people ARE willing to fight and be imprisoned and, yes, die for what they believe in.

Hoo, boy. I digressed quite a bit here! I'm going to copy this and put it on my blog so people can read it and comment on it. I may add to it, or even just write another, related post.

George, I apologize for hijacking so much space. Sometimes I can't control a surge and I either overflow the dam or force the floodgates open!

Thank you for the opportunity! You are the kind of man one can love without never having met him.
XO, Uncle George Takei. XO