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Love Me - Jillian Mercado
Love, Me

Jillian Mercado Opens Up About Disability Representation And Mental Health

"I was ‘different’ in a bad way, according to the world"

Jillian Mercado, a queer actor and activist with muscular dystrophy known for her modeling work for Diesel and her roles as Maribel Suarez on The L Word: Generation Q and Ruby in the upcoming film Between the Aisles, remembers how young she was when she first dealt with depression.

“My childhood was pretty much free of worries. It wasn’t until middle school that the world hit me all at once and that’s when I realized I was ‘different’ in a bad way, according to the world,” shares Jillian in's new season of Love, Me.

“All the images and videos that I was getting when I was younger were all about not fitting in or being a burden or dying. Suicide was always the undertone of every single TV show or movie where there was a representation of disability,”

Jillian’s experience growing up and what she saw come out of the media and entertainment affected her mental health because most was negative. She understands how inspiring representation on screen can be and has made it her goal to bring that to her community.

“No matter what disability you may have, no matter what sexual orientation you are, there are so many people out there that can inspire you to get you to where you need to be,” Jillian Mercado shares.

Discover more stories on Out, The Advocate, HIVPlusMag, and PRIDE about how queer people are navigating their mental health journeys and overcoming their experiences in the Love, Me series.

If you have or are contemplating suicide, please know there is a well of support out there to help. Call, text, or chat 988 for The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (can be reached 24 hours a day by people of all backgrounds). The previous Lifeline phone number (1-800-273-8255) will always remain available to people in emotional distress or suicidal crisis. If you are a trans or gender-nonconforming person considering suicide, the Trans Lifeline can be reached at (877) 565-8860. The Trevor Project is the world's largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ+ youth (ages 24 and younger). Trained counselors at the Trevor Project Lifeline can be reached 24/7 at (866) 488-7386, by texting START to 678678, or via the TrevorChat instant messaging service at

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