Hunger Games star Josh Hutcherson and musical duo Tegan and Sara, each long-time advocates for the LGBT community, are using their celebrity platforms to help LGBT youth.
At the 23rd annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles, Josh Hutcherson, then 19, was the youngest person ever honored with the prestigious Vanguard Award in 2012. This put him next to other Vanguard Award recipients like Liza Minnelli, Cher, Whoopi Goldberg, and this past year Jennifer Lopez.
Hutcherson has been aligned with the Straight But Not Narrow (SBNN) campaign, an organization that provides resources to the young allies of the LGBT community. Now Hutcherson and SBNN have kicked off a new project called Power On with the help of The Trevor Project and human I-T. The goal of Power On is to encourage teens to donate their old laptops, tablets, and smartphones to be refurbished and distributed to LGBT youth resource centers across the US, especially in rural or low-income areas.
Internet access is crucial for the well-being of LGBT youth, according to a report entitled "Out Online: The Experiences of LGBT Youth on the Internet," released last year by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN). LGBT youth were found to use the internet to search for resources, such as health and medical information, as well as join online communities that support causes or issues, significantly more than their straight counterparts. Hutcherson, who donated his own computer during the launch of the campaign, said in a statement:
“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. 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.”
The Power On campaign will continue to run from now until GLAAD's Spirit Day on October 16th, a day where millions around the world go purple in support of LGBT youth and against bullying.
With their donated electronic devices and greater access to the internet, perhaps more LGBT youth will soon be able to take advantage of the resources Tegan and Sara are promoting. Tegan and Sara, the famous twins who happen to both be lesbian, have developed a resource document with the help of the LGBT rights organization Revel & Riot. The singers often receive emails from fans looking for guidance and tips about coming out. Because they simply do not have enough time to respond to each fan personally, they are now encouraging fans to utilize the many resources offered by Revel & Riot. The duo tweeted:
— Tegan and Sara (@teganandsara) August 9, 2014
If you have an old or unused laptop, tablet, or smartphone to donate, visit the Power On site to find out how. And if you or someone you know is in need of resources on anything from coming out advice to suicide prevention, visit the Revel & Riot resource page.