Lil Nas X's 'baby registry' raises almost $500,000 for US non-profits

The Grammy Award winner opened a special fundraiser as part of his 'fake pregnancy' gag that will help fund HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ+ organisations across the US.

Lil Nas X stands with a prosthetic belly for his fake pregnancy photoshoot as part of Montero's promotion

During the release of his debut album Montero, Lil Nas X announced a special ‘baby registry’ on his website, linking each track from the album to different non-profit groups under the Gilead COMPASS initiative. Over the past few months, the artist has raised almost $500,000 from fan contributions to help combat the HIV/ AIDS epidemic in the Southern states.

Although HIV transmissions have decreased in recent years, Southern states still account for 51% of annual reported cases, states a 2019 CDC report. Black Americans, especially LGBTQ+ people, are disproportionately affected by the epidemic, making up 40% of HIV diagnoses from racial and economic marginalization, along with housing and transportation barriers. So far, COMPASS organizations have provided for more than 175,000 people and trained 13,000 volunteers to become HIV advocates.

Having grown up in Georgia, Lil Nas X expressed that the unique fundraiser was his way to give back to the LGBTQ+ community. The artist has done other philanthropy work in the past and has been awarded for his advocacy for suicide prevention

“The Montero baby registry was created to send resources to grassroots groups serving the most vulnerable,” Lil Nas X said. “Funds raised will go to people living with HIV and inspire a new generation of leaders who will keep pushing for HIV education and one day, a cure.” One of the organizations, The Normal Anomaly, also celebrated the fundraiser milestone. The Houston-based group provides HIV test kits, transportation for appointments and job interviews, as well as sexual education classes for Black and LGBTQ+ individuals.

Ian L. Haddock, the executive director of The Normal Anomaly, praised the artist for using his platform to destigmatise the HIV epidemic, and that the proceeds will help establish community events and provide aid for HIV Positive people.

“Lil Nas X has allowed our organization to dream big,” Haddock said in a statement. “Through these funds, we are not only able to create a brave space for community, celebrate entrepreneurship, and have queer musical artists headline a festival, but we are able to continue to raise money through ticket sales to impact necessary programming including our community burial fund, transgender services and programs that directly impact people living with and impacted by HIV.”

The mock baby registry also sheds light on mental health and mass incarceration. The Bail Project is an organization based in New York City that fights to expose racial disparities in the criminal justice system, and proceeds go into paying for people’s bails. Bros in Convo provides wellness courses, peer support, and other mental health resources for Black and LGBTQ+ individuals.

While Lil Nas X has recently returned from his ‘maternity leave’ to announce an upcoming single, the registry is still up and accepting donations.

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