The Trevor Project announced on Wednesday that it has honored out Grammy Award-winning artist Lil Nas X with its first Suicide Prevention Advocate of the Year Award. The organization said Lil Nas X has shown a strong commitment to ending suicide among LGBTQ+ young people through his open and candid comments about his own experiences with his sexuality and suicide ideation.
Wednesday’s announcement came at the start of National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month in the U.S. The Trevor Project is a suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ+ youth. Research from the group has shown that 42 percent of LGBTQ+ have seriously considered attempting suicide over the last year — more than half of trans and nonbinary youth have.
“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. “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 research conducted by the Trevor Project has shown that more than 80 percent of LGBTQ+ youth are positively affected by LGBTQ+ celebrities.
In response to the award, Lil Nas X said that he appreciates the work of the Trevor Project, noting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is still a real thing in our society.
“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 said. “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.”
Lil Nas X has become a global queer icon and has spoken openly about being a Black gay man in the music industry. Earlier this year, the rapper released videos on social media about his battle with depression, anxiety, and suicide ideation throughout his life.
In a letter to his 14-year-old self that he released leading up to his No. 1 single “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” from his upcoming album MONTERO, the rapper wrote, “I know we promised to die with the secret, but this will open doors for many other queer people to simply exist.”
In the song "Sun Goes Down," Nas X went tender, singing about loneliness and wanting to run away. "These gay thoughts would always haunt me, I prayed God would take it from me," he sang before going on to speak about suicidal ideation. He later specified that he found solace online, which was the "only place" he felt that he belonged in.
If you or someone you know needs support, you can reach The Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386, via chat www.TheTrevorProject.org/Help, or by texting START to 678678.
You can also reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.