In recognition of Janelle Monáe’s commitment to LGBTQ+ mental health awareness, the Trevor Project named them its Suicide Prevention Advocate of the Year award recipient for 2022. The distinction recognizes influential public figures in the LGBTQ+ community.
The second annual award marks September’s National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and amplifies The Trevor Project’s mission to end suicide among LGBTQ+ young people, the organization wrote in a press release announcing the award.
The award was first given to Lil Nas X in 2021, and Monáe joins him in receiving the honor.
The Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, actor, and author has long been an advocate for LGBTQ+ issues and mental health awareness.
"Monáe has consistently raised the voices and experiences of marginalized communities," the Trevor Project said in its announcement.
The artist has openly and proudly discussed their sexual orientation and gender identity throughout their career. In 2018, Monáe came out as pansexual in a Rolling Stone cover story, and this past April, they revealed they identify as nonbinary. “I just don’t see myself as a woman, solely. I feel all my energy,” they said on Red Tabletop.
As they accepted the award, Monáe said: “Growing up queer and Black in a religious household, I faced a lot of challenges trying to understand my identity and where I fit in as someone who always felt beyond the binary. We, as LGBTQ folks, as people of color, are a powerful and unstoppable community. I want every young queer person out there to know that I see you, you are beautiful in all of your forms, and you are never, ever alone in this world.”
She continued, “As someone who has dealt with depression and anxiety, prioritizing and protecting your mental health is everything. Amazing organizations like The Trevor Project have got your back, and I will personally continue to advocate for you and celebrate you always. No matter what you’re going through, your life matters so much — don’t let anyone try to dim your light.”
In a study conducted by The Trevor Project in 2022, which examined the mental health experiences of nearly 34,000 LGBTQ+ youth, 45 percent of LGBTQ+ youth seriously considered suicide in the past year, and almost 1 in 5 transgender and nonbinary children attempted suicide.
Additionally, the study found that LGBTQ+ youth of color attempted suicide more frequently than white peers, and 60 percent of LGBTQ+ youth who wanted mental health care could not obtain it.
“Queer representation in the media can have a life-saving impact on LGBTQ young people, and Janelle Monáe is the embodiment of unapologetic self-expression,” Josh Weaver, vice president of marketing at The Trevor Project, said. “Throughout their career, Janelle has been a trailblazer who constantly challenges the status quo – from their depictions of queer love in their music videos, to their iconic, gender nonconforming style, they continue to redefine the rules around how LGBTQ and BIPOC people can navigate through life.
If you are having thoughts of suicide or are concerned that someone you know may be, resources are available to help. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 is for people of all ages and identities. Trans Lifeline, designed for transgender or gender-nonconforming people, can be reached at (877) 565-8860. The lifeline also provides resources to help with other crises, such as domestic violence situations. The Trevor Project Lifeline, for LGBTQ+ youth (ages 24 and younger), can be reached at (866) 488-7386. Users can also access chat services at TheTrevorProject.org/Help or text START to 678678.