The Trevor Project announced on September 1, the first day of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, that it's awarding the first-ever Suicide Prevention Advocate of the Year Award to Lil Nas X.
The LGBTQ suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization said it chose to honor Lil Nas X with the inaugural award because of his openness about his sexuality and his own struggles with suicidal ideation.
“The Trevor Project is thrilled to honor Lil Nas X with the Suicide Prevention Advocate of the Year Award,” Amit Paley, CEO and Executive Director at The Trevor Project, said in a 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."
That kind of signaling truly matters. According to The Trevor Project's research, more than 80% of LGBTQ youth say that LGBTQ celebrities can improve their view about their own sexuality. From unapologetic representation in music videos to vulnerable notes about how he came to terms with his sexuality, Lil Nas X has done just that. Since coming out in 2019, the artist has talked openly about his sexuality, including writing a note to his 14-year-old self when he released his single, “Montero.”
“Dear 14-year-old Montero, I wrote a song with our name in it. It’s about a guy I met last summer. I know we promised to never come out publicly, I know we promised to never be ‘that’ type of gay person, I know we promised to die with the secret, but this will open doors for many other queer people to simply exist," he wrote. "You see this is very scary for me, people will be angry, they will say I’m pushing an agenda. But the truth is, I am. The agenda to make people stay the f*ck out of other people’s lives and stop dictating who they should be. Sending you love from the future. -LNX”
Like celebrities can have a positive influence on LGBTQ young people's view of their sexuality, honesty about mental health can help break down stigma, too. In a series of Tik Toks, Lil Nas X talked about suicidal ideation, and told The Trevor Project that his honesty about mental health has prompted young people to reach out to him about their own struggles.
“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,” Lil Nas X said in a statement. "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.”
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or reach The Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386, via chat www.TheTrevorProject.org/Help, or by texting START to 678-678.
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Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue