Readers' Choice Award Nomination: George Takei
The actor beloved by millions for his role as Hikaru Sulu of the USS Enterprise in the original Star Trek TV series (along with six blockbuster movies) hasn't rested on his laurels, transforming his considerable pop culture clout into advocacy efforts for both LGBT rights as well as Japanese–American relations.
Takei, who came out publicly in 2005 although he never hid his sexuality or personal life, currently serves as a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign "Coming Out Project" and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force announced he will be the recipient of the organization’s 2013 National Leadership Award. He supports an effort to not allow Russia to host the 2014 Winter Olympics and has signed a petition to move the event to Vancouver, where it was last hosted.
His ability to be sincere in his efforts but also keep a sense of humor has gained him many more ardent fans who may not be as familiar with his film and TV work. In 2011, for example, in response to a Tennessee State Legislature bill that prohibited school teachers or students from using any language that alludes to the existence of homosexuality (the "Don't Say Gay" bill), Takei (which is pronounced Ta-Kay) released another PSA in which he offered up his name, suggesting that people could just substitute that for "gay." For example, they could support Takei Marriage or watch Takei Pride Parades; or even use slurs like That's so Takei.
His Facebook page is also enjoyed for its mix of humorous photos and profound messages.