September officially marks National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. In order to draw attention to the important cause, non-profit organization The Trevor Project named Lil Nas X as the inaugural Suicide Prevention Advocate Of The Year.
The Trevor Project’s mission is to focus on suicide prevention specifically within the LGBTQ+ community. Alongside announcing Lil Nas X as their award recipient, for his “fearless effort” in changing the status quo around what it means to be queer and Black in the mainstream music industry, the organization notes some startling statistics. 42 percent of LGBTQ youth “seriously considered” attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth.
Accepting the title in a statement, Lil Nas X noted the “very real” discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community:
“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.”
Echoing Lil Nas X’s statement, The Trevor Project’s CEO and Executive Director Amit Paley said they are “thrilled” to honor the musician with the award. “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 said. “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.”