Lil Nas X has yet another accolade that he can put under his belt. On Wednesday (Sept. 1), The Trevor Project announced that the “Industry Baby” rapper is its inaugural Suicide Prevention Advocate of the Year award, an honor that recognizes notable figures within the LGBTQ+ community that are open about their sexuality, struggles with mental health, and their ability to fearlessly celebrate their queerness.
“Thank you so much to The Trevor Project for this award and for all they do for the LGBTQ community,” Lil Nas X said in statement. “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.”
The Trevor Project, launched in 1998, provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention resources for LGBTQ+ youth.
Earlier this year, Lil Nas posted a series of videos to his TikTok page describing what his life was like before fame, and shared his personal struggles with his mental health. “In 2017 I became the first [in] my family to get into college. During college I was depressed, had no friends and my grandmother passed. I started going to the doctor a lot in fear that I would die soon… hypochondria,” he shared.
Lil Nas added that his life became tumultuous after his sister kicked him out of her house, and his brother was sent to the military. He also explained that his music wasn’t performing well at the time, but when he released “Old Town Road” — which spent 19 record-shattering weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 and went on to become the only song to ever receive a 14-times platinum certification — his personal troubles continued.
“I got news that my mom wasn’t doing so well in rehab with her addiction,” Lil Nas wrote. “Also me and my boyfriend broke up. During this time old town road was still killing it while I was… spiraling. I found myself in a hotel room contemplating ending it all. But I didn’t.”
Amit Paley, CEO and executive director at The Trevor Project, commended Lil Nas X for his bravery with sharing his personal journey, and explained why the rapper deserved the honor.
“The Trevor Project is thrilled to honor Lil Nas X with the Suicide Prevention Advocate of the Year Award,” said Paley 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. The Trevor Project’s research shows that over 80% 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.”
The organization shared the news of Lil Nas X receiving the award on their social media accounts. “We’re thrilled to honor @LilNasX with our Suicide Prevention Advocate of the Year Award,” the organization wrote on Instagram. “Throughout your career, you’ve shown up as an outspoken and unapologetic advocate, using your platform to shed light on mental health issues many LGBTQ young people face.”
See The Trevor Project’s announcement below.