Working in conjunction with Straight But Not Narrow, The Trevor Project, and human I-T, The Hunger Games actor Josh Hutcherson kicked off a new campaign, Power On, meant to provide LGBTQ youth living in rural areas or that come from low-income households the tools they need to find community. From now through October 16’s Spirit Day, the organizations will be working together to encourage teens to donate their old and unused laptops, tablets, and smartphones to be, through the campaign, refurbished and distributed to LGBTQ resource centers across the United States.
According to GLSEN’s “Out Online” study, more than half of LGBTQ youth who were not out in person had used the internet to connect with other queer people and like minded 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.”
Recognizing that the internet can be a powerful tool for those questioning their sexuality or who cannot find other LGBTQ peers in person, The Trevor Project in 2008 set up a social network, TrevorSpace.org, specifically designed for queer youth and straight allies. Currently serving approximately 100,000 people, the site is set to be included by default with other, similar resources on all devices distributed through Power On.
When launching the project, Josh Hutcherson led by example 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," he 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.”
Those interested in donating to the initiative can find instructions at human-i-t.org/ally. The organization will collect and refurbish all donated devices free of charge.