Josh Hutcherson has become one of Hollywood’s most outspoken supporters in the fight for equal rights. His dedication to the cause stems far beyond just his general beliefs — in fact, it’s a very personal subject for him as two of his uncles were gay. And sadly, The Hunger Games revealed to E! that both uncles died from AIDS during the height of the epidemic.
“They were in their early thirties, in great shape, but unfortunately they were taken away from us too soon,” the 19-year-old said. “Both passed away at about the time I was born.” But even though the actor never really got the chance to know them, he continuously works hard to keep their memories alive.
The star works closely with the group Straight But Not Narrow, which aims towards changing the attitudes and viewpoints of young, straight people about the LGBT community. “My mom has always been a big advocate, especially in the gay, lesbian, transsexual and bisexual community, so for me it’s always been a part of my soul,” Hutcherson said.
And his gallant efforts have not gone unnoticed. On April 21, Hutcherson will be become the youngest recipient of the Vanguard Award at the GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles, joining a stellar list of past honorees that include Elizabeth Taylor, Charlize Theron and Janet Jackson.
Hutcherson also admitted that he’s more proud of his fight for gay equal rights than he is for his flourishing career in acting. “This is what my family is most proud of and the same for me,” he said. “Acting is one thing, but actually trying to change the world and the way people think to make people’s lives better? That’s the stuff I’m most proud of.”