Imagine Dragons was named best rock artist at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards — and frontman Dan Reynolds used his acceptance speech to advocate for the LGBTQ community.
When Reynolds, 31, took the stage at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, he spoke out against conversion therapy, a practice meant to change one’s sexual orientation or gender identity
“I just want to take this moment to say that there are 34 States that have no laws banning conversion therapy. And on top of that, 58 percent of our LGBTQ population live in those states,” Reynolds said. “This can change, but it’s going to take all of us talking to our state legislators, pushing forward laws to protect our LBGTQ youth.”
He continued, “And lastly, I just want to say: We have seen with conversion therapy that our LGBTQ youth have double the rate of depression; triple the rate of suicide after conversion therapy. It’s not working and needs to change.”
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Reynolds grew up Mormon in Utah. Over the years, he struggled watching gay friends in the conservative church as they battled reconciling their faith with their sexuality. And in recent years, he has become a staunch ally of the LGBTQ community.
The Imagine Dragons rocker covered the topic in his 2018 HBO documentary, Believer.
“I don’t feel a need to denounce Mormonism. I do feel a need as a Mormon to speak out against things that are hurting people,” he told the Los Angeles Times last year. “If the leaders of the church aren’t going to change the doctrine, then the culture needs to change. That’s the goal.”
The 2019 Billboard Music Awards are broadcasting live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on May 1 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.
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