At only 19, Josh Hutcherson is proving that he can do anything. He bulked up for The Hunger Games, he does a mean rendition of the Super Mario Bros. theme song, and he actually cares about LGBT rights. Several years ago before he was even an A-lister, Josh helped found the organization Straight But Not Narrow, which reaches out to straight young men using comedy to inspire them to become LGBT allies instead of bullies. And now he’s being honored by GLAAD with their Vanguard Award, making Josh the youngest recipient. (He joins such esteemed company as Charlize Theron, Kristin Chenoweth, and Elizabeth Taylor.)
We’ve seen celebrities take on causes that they obviously don’t give a crap about, like Paris Hilton and starving children. But Josh isn’t one of them. You may notice that he always wears his green SBNN bracelet in interviews, and in February he spoke candidly to SamaritanMag.com about his personal connection to the fight:
“It hits close to home for me. I have a bunch of gay friends in Los Angeles. My roommate’s gay. I lost two uncles when I was young to AIDS, so it’s an important cause in my family.”
GLAAD’s president said in a press release, “Emerging as a leader in a new generation of equality advocates, Josh Hutcherson has consistently used his platform to help young people understand that no one should face discrimination simply because of who they are.” That platform is two-pronged: His phenomenal fame as Peeta Mellark in The Hunger Games, but also his natural ease and sense of humor. You’ll see the latter in events like him surprising the Gay Straight Alliance at an LA high school last month; as well as the video below, which Josh recorded back when his biggest film credit was Journey to the Center of the Earth.
The points he makes in the video — “Does it really matter if your guy friends like guys over girls? Doesn’t that kinda just leave more girls for you?” — are tongue-in-cheek and should be common sense, yet aren’t. But maybe they’ll finally hit home for young straight men after seeing videos like this and after Josh accepts his award at the ceremony this Saturday in Los Angeles.
Photo: Jesse Grant/Getty Images