Avan Jogia Chats with Celebuzz About Straight But Not Narrow
Not only is Avan Jogia the talented (and dreamy) star of Victorious, he is also extremely passionate about gay rights activism, which is what led him to start Straight But Not Narrow, a pro-gay rights campaign that encouraged straight men to stick up for their gay peers. Celebuzz got a chance to talk to Avan about his new organization, the surprising fan reaction and how we can all get involved.
How did you come up with the idea to start Straight But Not Narrow?
I kind of found the idea based on where I'm from and the kind of culture that we have in Vancouver. My mother is a hairdresser so I grew up in a lot of gay culture and I have friends who have gay parents and friends who have gay brothers and it didn't make a lot of sense to me that there was a huge amount of [separation] between the lines.
I thought, I have some friends who work with charities so why not I start a charitable campaign? So, I came to my friends Andre Pochan and Heather Wilk [of Cause Creative Marketing] who work with a bunch of charities and I told them that I wanted to start this charity campaign and we started moving on from there.
Were you ever involved with other charities and causes before Straight But Not Narrow?
Not really. I think you should really care about the charity you stand by. Unless you really have a line that links you to a charity, I don't really think there is a need to be a part of a charity unless you are really, really involved.
Is gay rights something that you are really passionate about?
Completely! I think that I wouldn't get involved in something unless I was completely passionate about it and having friends who are gay and seeing what they went through in high school, it just didn't seem right to me for there to be all this confusion and hate.
If you do have a voice and you do have the ability to speak out about it, then do so. It's a waste of that ability if you don't speak out about something that's important to you.
What has the fan reaction to your involvement with Straight But Not Narrow been?
It's been really, really positive which has been very cool for me. It really strengthens my thoughts that within a couple years, hopefully within the next ten years, programs like this are never going to be necessary.
The support from the younger people who work really hard, they help our online presence, they run around and they tweet about and post on these bloggy things and they do tons and tons of things and that really strengthens my feeling on the subject.
How can fans and people who are interested in the cause get involved?
We aren't a charity, we are a campaign, but if you want to donate to charity the Trevor Project it an amazing charity, they have youth suicide prevention resources and all kinds of things if you need help. The Trevor Project has been doing really amazing work and we are happy to lend as much help to that as we can through our campaign.
There will be a tab on our new Straight But Not Narrow website [with ways to get involved]. The whole website will go up pretty soon, we just have a splash page at the moment.
Watch Avan's Straight But Not Narrow video below.
What's next for Straight But Not Narrow?
It's enough to have people watch our videos and listen to what we have to say but the next step is for people to implement their own videos and maybe have stuff run in schools, that would be very cool.
SBNN's blue colors and blue ties are all sort of playing with the stereotype of what is to a man to like, like the color blue and to have a tie and stuff like that. To have a day in schools where kids could wear a blue tie, I think that would be really cool.
I think it's going to be really cool, I feel like you only know when you are doing something that makes sense when you get a positive reaction. When you're doing it you're just kind of doing it and not thinking about if it'll have a positive reaction or a negative reaction but it's not until it's actually done do you know where you've landed.
Josh Hutcherson is making a video for us. We're trying to get athletes, actors and musicians and everyone who is kind of friends of mine involved in it.
I also want to get people who are actually making a change in their community involved in it as well and do videos with them.