It’s a bit of art imitating life, only instead of Peeta using his power to survive, the actor who plays him is leveraging his star power to help gay youth thrive.
“Hunger Games” star Josh Hutcherson has launched a campaign called “Power On,” which is aimed at helping disadvantaged LGBTQ youth get access to computers and important online resources, according to Out Magazine.
The actor teamed with The Trevor Project, Straight But Not Narrow and human I-T to provide LGBTQ youth from rural areas and low-income households with tools and resources to succeed beyond their means. The organizations’ joint initiative encourages teens to donate unused digital devices such as laptops, smartphones and tablets in order to be refurbished and distributed to LGBTQ centers across the United States. The campaign runs through Spirit Day on Oct. 16.
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A study conducted by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) discovered that more than half of closeted LGBTQ youth use the internet to connect with fellow LGBTQ individuals.
“For young LGBTQ people, it may not be easy to find others like them nearby,” said Abbe Land, executive director and CEO of The Trevor Project. “At The Trevor Project, we know that connecting to a community can lead to support and friendships, as well as reduce the risk for suicide attempts and other high-risk behaviors.”
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Acting upon the study’s statistics, The Trevor Project set up a social network in 2008 with the sole intention of connecting gay youth with peers, as well as straight allies. The site, which is already serving up to 100,000 users, will be included on all devices distributed by Hutcherson’s Power On campaign.
Hutcherson kicked off the cause by donating one of his own computers.
“It’s awesome to know that it’ll be used to help a young person out there who, before this campaign, wasn’t able to get access to information and resources that could really help them,” Hutcherson said. “I’ve always respected the work that The Trevor Project does, and to have an opportunity for Straight But Not Narrow to collaborate with them on a campaign like Power On is exciting.”
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No stranger to LGBT causes, the actor has been an avid supporter in his work — both on and off screen. Hutcherson has been vocal as an advocate of marriage equality, as well as co-starred as the teen son of a lesbian couple, played by Annette Bening and Julianne Moore, in the critically acclaimed 2010 film “The Kids Are All Right.”
During an interview for the last “Hunger Games” installment, Hutcherson even joked about how he would be “so down” for a threeway between his character Peeta, Gale and Katniss, played by Liam Hemsworth and Jennifer Lawrence.
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“I know Peeta would be into it, for sure. He’s very sensitive, in touch with his emotions,” Hutcherson said in Out magazine’s November 2013 issue. “I think it really might solve a lot of their problems. You know what? I’m going to pitch that idea. Let’s make it a — what’s it called when three people are in a relationship together? A triad? That’ll go over well with Middle America.”
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In the same interview, Hutcherson identified himself as straight — but hinted that there could be some wiggle room in his sexuality if he met the right guy.
“Maybe I could say right now I’m 100 percent straight. But who knows?” Hutcherson said. “In a fucking year, I could meet a guy and be like, ‘Whoa, I’m attracted to this person.’ I’ve met guys all the time that I’m like, ‘Damn, that’s a good-looking guy, you know?’ I’ve never been, like, ‘Oh, I want to kiss that guy.’ I really love women. But I think defining yourself as 100% anything is kind of near-sighted and close-minded.”
For more information on how to join Hutcherson in his Power On campaign efforts, visit human-i-t.org/ally.