The Trevor Project has named out gay rapper Lil Nas X their inaugural Suicide Prevention Advocate of the Year.
The LGBTQ youth suicide prevention organization honored Lil Nas X for his “continued advocacy around mental health issues, and his unapologetic celebration of his queer identity.” The out gay rapper has been grabbing headlines not just for the hype surrounding his soon-to-be-released album, but also for embracing his sexuality — regardless of who is watching. He kissed a male performer at the BET Awards, gave the devil a lap dance in his “Montero” music video, and, in turn, he has faced criticism for his celebration of Black queer identity. Earlier this year, the “Industry Baby” star also opened up about his battles with suicidal thoughts and depression in a four-part TikTok series about his life and journey to fame.
“The Trevor Project is thrilled to honor Lil Nas X with the Suicide Prevention Advocate of the Year Award,” the Trevor Project’s CEO and executive director, Amit Paley, said in a written statement. “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.”
Paley added, “The Trevor Project’s research shows that over 80 percent 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.”
Findings from the Trevor Project’s “National Survey on LGBTQ Mental Health 2021” showed that 42 percent of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the last year, including nearly 70 percent of transgender and non-binary youth. The study also indicated that LGBTQ youth of color face higher attempted suicide rates than white queer youth.
The rapper said receiving the honor inspires him to continue using his music to uplift LGBTQ people.
“Discrimination around sexuality and gender identity is still very real, and our community deserves to feel supported and totally free to be themselves,” Lil Nas X said in a statement. “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.”
He added, “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.”
Prior to this award, the artist announced a release date for his much-anticipated album, “Montero,” which is slated to hit streaming platforms on September 17.
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