Nineteen-year-old actor and equality advocate Josh Hutcherson will receive the Vanguard Award at the 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles on April 21, it was announced today. Also announced was Grammy Award-winning recording artist Jason Mraz, who will perform at the event.
Josh Hutcherson leads the next generation in the movement for LGBT equality. In 2010, Hutcherson starred as the son of a lesbian couple in the critically acclaimed film The Kids Are All Right, which received a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Film – Wide Release, two Golden Globe Awards, and an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. Hutcherson currently stars as Peeta Mellark in the blockbuster film The Hunger Games.
Hutcherson is one of the founders of the LGBT ally organization Straight But Not Narrow (SBNN), and has remained outspoken about why equality for LGBT people is important. In an interview with SamaritanMag.com, Hutcherson said, "We just launched [SBNN], and it’s a very exciting time for us and it hits close to home for me. I have a lot of gay friends in Los Angeles. My roommate’s gay and I lost two uncles when I was young to AIDS, so it’s an important cause in my family."
Earlier this year, Hutcherson and fellow SBNN co-founder, actor Avan Jogia, met with Gay-Straight Alliance leaders at the GSA Network to film a video discussing the importance of GSA clubs in schools. In March, Hutcherson made a surprise appearance at a high school in Los Angeles where he spoke to GSA members about about the importance of being an ally for LGBT young people.
"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," said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. "Josh's commitment to achieving equality for every American is a message he carries in his work both on screen and off, earning him the honor of being GLAAD's youngest-ever Vanguard Award recipient." HNqKmdN08tE
GLAAD also announced that Jason Mraz, longtime LGBT advocate and Grammy Award winner, will perform at the ceremony. Mraz recently filmed a PSA for the Human Rights Campaign's "Americans for Marriage Equality" initiative. Watch the video below. gX_PhJb0VnM
Ellen DeGeneres will open the event on April 21. Other special guests include: Betty White, Wendie Malick, Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves (Hot in Cleveland); Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family); Joshua Jackson (Fringe); Mark Deklin, Miriam Shor (GCB); Tori Spelling (Tori & Dean: Home SweetHollywood); Kim Wayans (Pariah); Molly Shannon (Casa de mi Padre); LGBT advocate and writer Perez Hilton; singer and Vampire Diaries star Kat Graham; Trevor Donovan (90210); Brooke Elliott, Josh Berman (Drop Dead Diva); Gilles Marini (Switched at Birth); Fran Drescher (Happily Divorced); Guillermo Diaz (Scandal); Kelly Osbourne (So Undercover); Milla Jovovich (Faces in the Crowd); Ali Larter (The Asset); Travis Wall (All the Right Moves); Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato (Becoming Chaz); Mike Mills (Beginners); and decorated Air Force veteran Lt. Col Victor Fehrenbach. Additional guests for the April 21 Los Angeles event to be announced.
The GLAAD Media Awards fund GLAAD's work to bring stories of LGBT people and issues to Americans. Each year, the GLAAD Media Awards in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco bring together more than 5,000 advocates and allies to raise nearly $3.5 million for the organization's work.