The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people, honored Grammy Award-winning artist Lil Nas X last week with its inaugural Suicide Prevention Advocate of the Year Award.
Lil Nas X has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to supporting The Trevor Project’s mission to end suicide among LGBTQ young people with his openness about struggling with his sexuality and suicidal ideation, his continued advocacy around mental health issues, and his unapologetic celebration of his queer identity.
The Trevor Project’s inaugural Suicide Prevention Advocate of the Year Award marks the start of National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and the crucial work that needs to be done to end suicide among LGBTQ youth. According to The Trevor Project’s National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, 42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth. Due to higher rates of discrimination, rejection, and social isolation, LGBTQ young people are at increased risk for negative mental health outcomes such as anxiety, depression, seriously considering suicide, and more.
In accepting the award, Lil Nas X said: “Thank you so much to The Trevor Project for this award and for all they do for the LGBTQ community. Discrimination around sexuality and gender identity is still very real, and our community deserves to feel supported and totally free to be themselves. I often get messages from fans telling me about their struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts, and it made me realize that this was something bigger than myself. If using my voice and expressing myself in my music can help even one kid out there who feels alone, then it was all worth it.”
Amidst a record-breaking year for anti-LGBTQ legislation and violence against the LGBTQ community, The Trevor Project is highlighting the importance of queer representation in the media, and the powerful message of visibility and hope it sends to LGBTQ young people.
“The Trevor Project is thrilled to honor Lil Nas X with the Suicide Prevention Advocate of the Year Award,” said Amit Paley, CEO and Executive Director at The Trevor Project. “His vulnerability in his journey to self acceptance and expression has created space for candid conversations around mental health and sexual identity, signaling to LGBTQ youth that they are not alone. The Trevor Project’s research shows that over 80% of LGBTQ youth say that LGBTQ celebrities positively influence how they feel about being LGBTQ, further affirming the cultural impact of Lil Nas X being proud of who he is and an ideal recipient of this inaugural award.”
Following his chart-topping, genre-defying debut “Old Town Road” in 2019, Lil Nas X quickly became a global LGBTQ icon recognized for his fearless effort in changing the status quo around what it means to be queer and Black in the mainstream music industry. Throughout his career, he has been an outspoken and unapologetic advocate for the LGBTQ community, using his platform to shed light on mental health issues many LGBTQ young people face. In February, Lil Nas X shared a series of intimate TikTok videos documenting his life story, including his silent battle with depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation during his rise to fame. The following month, he penned a heartfelt letter to his 14-year-old self about coming out publicly to mark the release of “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name).” In the letter he states, “I know we promised to die with the secret, but this will open doors for many other queer people to simply exist.” In May, he released the music video for his single “SUN GOES DOWN,” which depicts Lil Nas X uplifting a younger version of himself in high school when he was contemplating suicide and struggling to come to terms with his sexuality. Through his bold music videos, poignant song lyrics, and candor on social media, Lil Nas X continues to fight for mainstream queer representation and elevate important issues around mental health, igniting change and spotlighting the experiences of LGBTQ young people around the world.
If you or someone you know needs help or support, The Trevor Project’s trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386, via chat www.TheTrevorProject.org/Help, or by texting START to 678678.