Zachary Kerr, a 19-year-old Methuen native, has been chosen by Nickelodeon as one of four exceptional teen activists to be honored at the fifth annual TeenNick HALO Awards, broadcast live for the first time on Nick at Nite Nov. 17. Each of the teens will be paired with a celebrity presenter who shares a commitment to their cause. This year, stars Josh Hutcherson, Queen Latifah, Chris Paul, and Shay Mitchell join the lineup with host Nick Cannon.
Kerr is one of a set of identical triplets and spent years wrestling with gender identity issues before deciding to transition from female to male. Now, as an advocate for the transgender community, he works extensively with the Greater Boston PFLAG organizing educational outreach programs, visiting schools, companies, and religious centers to share his story.
“I just want to live in a world where these things aren’t considered weird,” Kerr said. “Where people can be able to openly identify this way and not have to worry: Will I be accepted? Will I be fired? Will my family throw me out?”
If Kerr is nervous for his first live television appearance, he doesn’t show it. “It’s going to be so cool,” he said. “This is a new experience I’m excited to have.”
Hutcherson, star of the upcoming film “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” will be onstage alongside Kerr for the live awards telecast, held in Los Angeles. Hutcherson is a founding member of Straight But Not Narrow, an organization that educates young adults on how to become allies with and support their LGBT peers.