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George Takei backs photographer’s inspirational bid to become first gay man in outer space

Emma Powys Maurice March 3, 2021
George Takei

George Takei is helping one gay man fulfil his dream of going to space (Envato Elements)

George Takei is backing one man’s bid to complete his Star Trek legacy and become the first ever openly gay man in outer space.

Takei was firmly in the closet while he played the USS Enterprise‘s intergalactic helmsman, so he’s now living vicariously through Jon Carmichael, a gay astrophotographer who’s hoping to make it to the stars.

Carmichael is fighting to be one of four crew members aboard the Inspiration4, the first all-civilian space mission – and he has Sulu’s full support.

“First gay man to go to space? I certainly can relate to that dream!” Takei tweeted to his 3.2 million followers.

“Jon’s story is truly inspired. To my LGBTQs and allies, can we make this young man’s day with a RT barrage? Let’s give it maximum warp and help send Jon on that mission!”

Carmichael, 34, is a professional photographer based in New York. He’s been shooting the night sky for 14 years, using his camera as “a tool to explore the universe, to see things we can’t see with the naked eye”.

He’s been in love with space for as long as he can remember, and though he’s got closer to the stars by becoming a qualified pilot, it’s still not close enough.

To become a member of the Inspiration4’s crew candidates have to meet one of the categories of “hope”, “generosity” and “prosperity”.

Hayley Arceneaux, representing “hope”, is a childhood cancer survivor who now works at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital; the crew mates representing “generosity” and “prosperity” have yet to be chosen.

The former will be for someone who “has supported the St Jude mission” while the latter will be “an inspirational entrepreneur”.

Carmichael thinks he could be the perfect fit. “I believe representation is important,” he tweeted to George Takei.

“When I look back when I was a child/teenager who was terrified to come out, felt that I was less-than and would never amount to anything, had I seen an openly gay person being selected to go to space, it would’ve changed everything for me.”

More: george takei, star trek

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