Lil Nas X, singer of Montero titled “call me by your name” has been awarded the inaugural Suicide Prevention Advocate of the Year Award by the activist group, The Trevor Project on 01 September 2021, as it marked the first day of Suicide Prevention Month. The Trevor Project is a Non-Profit organization founded in 1998, which focuses on suicide prevention efforts among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning (LGBTQ+) youth.
The NGO cited Lil Nas X’s “openness about struggling with his sexuality and suicidal ideation, his continued advocacy around mental health issues, and his unapologetic celebration of his queer identity.” In an interview, the CEO and Executive Director at The Trevor Project, Amit Paley, highlighted that the awareness brought by Lil Nas X on suicide prevention and mental health are “profound.” In addition, “he has done it in a way that has resonated and impacted communities where these conversations are often taboo, but where they are so needed,” Paley continued.
In May, Lil Nas X released the music video for his single “Sun goes down” which depicts him uplifting a younger version of himself in high school when he was contemplating suicide and struggling to come to terms with his sexuality.
In the same vein, to see someone talk about their experiences with depression and suicidal ideation and to talk about those, as part of their art and part of their platform to make other people comfortable talking about the challenges that they are going through is particularly inspiring mainly someone who is Black and LGBTQ+ proud and unapologetic. According to the Trevor Project’s national survey on LGBTQ+ youth mental health in 2021, 42% of LGBTQ+ youth seriously attempted suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth.
For Amit Paley, the pandemic has been a very difficult period for LGBTQ+ youths, financially, emotionally and in a health perspective. Some might have been trapped in homes with unsupportive families. They might be encountering emotional or even physical abuse or at times thrown out of their homes and experiencing housing instability. Unfortunately, all of these things have an impact on people’s mental health.
Young Queer Alliance