George Takei has claimed that when he was young, the media was “a soul crushing monster” that “stripped us of all humanity”.

The veteran actor made the comments on Saturday, while accepting GLAAD’s Vito Russo Award, awarded for his work promoting equality.

He said: “As a closeted kid growing up in Los Angeles, all I saw of gays and lesbians in movies and television or heard on radio were caricatures of people who were mocked and laughed at, or pitied, or hated.

“The media stripped us of all humanity and made us into pathetic stereotypes. The media then was a soul-crushing monster.

“GLAAD took on this formidable beast with its media savvy, political acumen and the power of its advocacy and transformed the media into a powerful force for change.

“As long as LGBT people can be fired from their job for simply being who they are, our work isn’t done yet.

“As long as young people are kicked out of their families just for being who they are, our work is not done yet.

“As long as people are be bullied into feeling that their lives are so hopeless that they are driven to self-destructive acts, our work is not done.

“Working in concert with GLAAD, with its history of achievement and the legacy of Vito Russo, we will make this a better world, a more equal society of all people

Tonight, I know it’s okay to be Takei. I’m so ‘GLAAD’ to be Takei, I’m surrounded by people who are ‘GLAAD’ to be Takei.

“Tonight, we’re all Takei, and I’m so ‘GLAAD’┬áto be with all of you ‘GLAAD’ people to receive this important recognition.”

Takei, who played Hikaru Sulu in the original Star Trek TV series, married his husband Brad Altman in 2008, and is a strong gay rights advocate with a huge following on social media.

At the ceremony on Saturday, Orange is the New Black won the award for Outstanding Comedy Series, and last month trans actress Laverne Cox was awarded GLAAD’s highest honour.