Josh Hutcherson, Straight Talker 10.9.2013
BY SHANA NAOMI KROCHMAL
Josh Hutcherson on fame, his gay uncles' legacy, and how the best thing for his 'Hunger Games' character might be a threesome
We’ve barely started lunch, and I’m nowhere near my usual open-ended sexuality question, when Josh Hutcherson offers this: “I would probably list myself as mostly straight.”
That “mostly” is what makes Hutcherson winningly uninhibited, but also typical of his generation. New research published in The New York Times in 2010 shows that an increasing number of guys his age identify as “mostly straight,” and Hutcherson’s ease in embracing ambiguity over neat and secure boxes speaks to his self-assurance.
“Maybe I could say right now I’m 100% straight,” he says. “But who knows? In a fucking year, I could meet a guy and be like, Whoa, I’m attracted to this person.”
Hutcherson grew up in Union, Ky., a small town close to the Ohio border, and his slouchy, chill California vibe is still tinged with a soft Southern accent. Everything he says sounds easygoing. “I’ve met guys all the time that I’m like, Damn, that’s a good-looking guy, you know?” he says. “I’ve never been, like, Oh, I want to kiss that guy. I really love women. But I think defining yourself as 100% anything is kind of near-sighted and close-minded.”
Hutcherson is not exactly an average 21-year-old. He’s one of the stars of the blockbuster Hunger Games films, he’s rich and famous, and he’s self-aware enough to grasp how good he’s got it. Yet his take on sexuality reflects a healthy skepticism of labels that’s helping shift American public opinion on LGBT equality.
According to Cornell University psychology professor Ritch Savin-Williams, whose work was the basis of that New York Times op-ed, many “mostly straight” young men see the fight for LGBT equality as the defining civil rights movement of their time, just as Hutcherson does. But they’re neither just allies nor passing through before coming out as gay or bi. “These are the Kinsey 1s,” Savin-Williams says, meaning they fall just to the queer side of totally heterosexual on the famous sliding scale of sexuality. “Their primary object of desire is women. They’re not giving that up—they’re just adding to it.”
Hutcherson seems delighted by the complicated nature of human sexuality, but he doesn’t take sex too seriously—“Sometimes the rhythm isn’t right or you’re trying to make a new position work and it really doesn’t, and you have to laugh”—and isn’t allergic to oversharing. Of nude photos it’s rumored he posted to a dating site, he shrugs off any comment except to say, “I find it so shocking still that nakedness is so shocking.”
He definitely doesn’t understand judgmental attitudes toward gay people, which is why he cofounded Straight But Not Narrow, a youth organization that focuses on arming allied kids with the confidence and tools they need to speak out against homophobia. “Sometimes it’s frustrating to comprehend how people are not OK with it. If you can try to tell me how it’s hurting you, you’re crazy. You’re absolutely crazy. Like, what do you mean it’s not natural? Even if—even if, which, I disagree, but even if—why the fuck do you care?”
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