Hunger Games star Josh Hutcherson hosted on Friday the third annual Celebrity Basketball Game Benefiting Straight But Not Narrow - the organization that prepares and trains young adults on how to become LGBT allies. The sold-out event, which took place in the heart of the Los Angeles sports and entertainment district, Nokia Plaza L.A. LIVE, featured a number of celebrities eager to show their support of the LGBT community and help raise awareness by participating in the game.
For Hutcherson, the night was both a celebration of the strides that the LGBT community has made and a reminder of the work that remains before true equality is achieved. "There've been some great stepping stones and we're moving in the right direction, but [the battle] is definitely not won," he said, pointing out that strides in one area doesn't negate the need for continued education of young people on LGBT issues. "I mean, marriage equality is great, but it doesn't help a lot of people, especially young people who are in school. They can't even get married yet. So those are the ones who are dealing with [bullying] and at such a formidable age well."
It's an opinion shared by Kick-Ass star Christopher Mintz-Plasse, who says he couldn't wait to get on the court for the cause. "Yes in some places same-sex couples can get married now, but we can't get complacent because that doesn't stop people from being assholes and treating LGBT people like shit," says Mintz-Plasse. "That's what it's really about. It's about how you treat people."
The evening was charged by the recent announcement that Straight But Not Narrow had teamed up with The Trevor Project and human I-T to kick off the new campaign, Power On. The joint initiative encourages people to donate their old and unused laptops, tablets, and smartphones to human I-T, which will refurbish and distribute the devices to LGBT resource centers across the U.S. to provide LGBT youth from low-income households with the tools they need to find community.
"So many times people in minority groups have to advocate for themselves, and it's not the deepest or best tradition in this country," said Avengers and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.star Clark Gregg. "It's when people from other groups, and other preferences, advocate on their behalf that we see the biggest change. So, I love that this is going on and that it's going on at a youth level, because honestly, it's appalling that we still need to fight for [LGBT equality] when it's something that should've been recognized long ago."
As an actor currently playing in the Marvel Comics' white-hot TV and film universe, Gregg says he's aware of the influence Hollywood stars can have on young people. "There's a look that comes on little kids faces when they see me and that's the greatest superpower anyone could ask for," he says. "Any way I can use that to convince people that the waters of acceptance are fine to swim in, that's just a blessing and a benefit and I'm happy to do it."
"Being an ally means so much to me," added Hutcherson. "All my life I've had support from my friends and family in everything that I've done, and for me to be an ally it means giving that support to someone else. I've been so fortunate to be blessed with good people around me and so to step up and be that for someone else means a lot to me."
Take a look at photos from the event below and on the next page.
Josh Hutcherson and Christopher Mintz-Plasse
B.J. Britt, Hayley Orrantia, andChristopher Mintz-Plasse
Hector David Jr.