2013 HALO Awards: Josh Hutcherson Is An LGBT Ally
You know and love Josh Hutcherson as the strong, eloquent Peeta Mellark from the Hunger Games Trilogy, but did you know he has major skills outside the Capital Arena, too? When he's not battling Tributes, Josh 'Helps And Leads Others' by advocating an awesome youth charity called Straight But Not Narrow. We caught up with the Hunger Games stud to talk about his HALO skills, and found out there's another battle the real Josh thinks is worth fighting for.
Straight But Not Narrow (SBNN) is an organization that encourages young adults to become allies of their LGBTQ peers, and basically helps teach us how to support each other no matter what our sexual orientation. Josh became the first advocate of SBNN and remains a leading supporter of the organization alongside his best friend and founder, Avan Jogia (whom you might totally recognize as Beck Oliver from Victorious!).
Straight But Not Narrow differs from a lot of the LGBTQ campaigns out there, so Josh gave us a little insight on how the organization came to be: "Avan had this great idea of starting something where you can reach out to straight people about how important it is to be an ally to that community. You have a lot of support within the gay community for LGBTQ communities, but there aren't a lot of outreach programs for straight people to talk about it." The organization aims to not only open a dialogue across all sexual orientations, but also to teach people what it really means to be an ally in their schools, hometowns, workplaces, and friend groups. We think that's pretty rad.
Equality is an issue very close to Josh's heart, as he explained how a family tragedy inspired him to pursue this cause: "Equal rights have been a huge part of my life from the day I was born. My mom was raised by her two uncles who were both gay and passed away from AIDS before I was born. I didn't get to meet them, but they were amazing people and that made my family realize that there's no difference between a gay person and a straight person. We're all just people."
And it's as simple as that: we're all just people. SBNN spreads its message by positively influencing attitudes and viewpoints, but it really comes down to just having a little compassion. Josh said it perfectly: "Being an LGBT ally is so easy and it really takes nothing but understanding. You can wear a little wrist band, you can post it on Facebook and you can talk openly with your friends about it. I have gay friends and I have straight friends. We're all people, there's no difference."
Don't miss Josh, the amazing honorees, and the rest of the celebs who will be attending the 2013 HALO Awards this Sunday, November 17th!