Janelle Monáe named ‘Suicide Prevention Advocate of the Year’

Grammy-nominated musician, actor and author Janelle Monáe has been named TheTrevor Project’s annual “Suicide Prevention Advocate of the Year” for their“unwavering commitment” to championing LGBTQ+ mental health awareness, thegroup announced on Tuesday.

Monáe, who uses both gender-neutral and female pronouns, is the second personto be honored by The Trevor Project, a national LGBTQ+ youth suicideprevention organization. The rapper Lil Nas X, who is openly gay, won thegroup’s inaugural award last year.

The honor is given annually to influential public figures that lift up theLGBTQ+ community, spread mental health awareness and remind queer youth that“they are not alone,” The Trevor Project said Tuesday in a news releaseannouncing Monáe’s win.

“Queer representation in the media can have a life-saving impact on LGBTQyoung people, and Janelle Monáe is the embodiment of unapologetic self-expression,” Josh Weaver, vice president of marketing at The Trevor Project,said Tuesday.

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“Throughout their career, Janelle has been a trailblazer who constantlychallenges the status quo – from their depictions of queer love in their musicvideos, to their iconic, gender nonconforming style, they continue to redefinethe rules around how LGBTQ and BIPOC people can navigate through life,” Weaversaid.

In a May interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Monáe said their “naturalinstinct” has always been to stand up to bullies and to protect people thatare trying to live as their authentic selves.

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“I always want to protect marginalized and working class folks,” Monáe said.

Last year, the multi-hyphenate artist released a 17-minute version of their2015 protest song “Say Her Name (Hell You Talmbout)” that featured the namesof 61 Black women and girls killed by law enforcement.

Monáe came out publicly as pansexual in a 2018 Rolling Stone cover story,telling the outlet they are “open to learning more about who I am.” In April,they confirmed during an appearance on Facebook Watch’s “Red Table Talk” thatthey identify as nonbinary.

“I just don’t see myself as a woman, solely,” Monáe told hosts Jada PinkettSmith, Willow Smith and Adrienne Banfield-Norris. “I feel all of my energy.”

Monáe has also been open about their struggles with depression and anxiety andrevealed in a 2020 interview with NPR that they had suffered several panicattacks while recording their album “Dirty Computer” after former PresidentTrump was elected, worrying that white supremacists and extremists may feel“emboldened” to attack them for speaking out against things like rampantracism, sexism and xenophobia.

“As someone who has dealt with depression and anxiety, prioritizing andprotecting your mental health is everything,” Monáe said Tuesday in astatement released by The Trevor Project. “No matter what you’re goingthrough, your life matters so much — don’t let anyone try to dim your light.”

“Growing up queer and Black in a religious household, I faced a lot ofchallenges trying to understand my identity and where I fit in as someone whoalways felt beyond the binary,” Monáe, who was raised in Kansas City, Kan.,said . “We, as LGBTQ folks, as people of color, are a powerful and unstoppablecommunity. 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 thisworld.”

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