Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds calls for conversion therapy ban at 2019 Billboard Music Awards
Imagine Dragonswas named Top Rock Artist at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards – and during the band’s acceptance speech, lead man Dan Reynolds used his platform to advocate for the LGBTQ community and call out conversion therapy laws in the United States.
“I just want to take this moment to say that there are still 34 states that don’t have laws banning conversion therapy,” Reynolds, 31, began. “On top of that, 58% of our LGBTQ population live in those states.”This can change, but it’s going to take all of us talking to our state legislature, pushing forward laws to protect our LGBTQ youth,” he continued. “We’ve 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, it needs to change.”(3rd L-R) Daniel Platzman, Ben McKee, Dan Reynolds, and Wayne Sermon of Imagine Dragons accept Top Rock Artist onstage during the 2019 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 1, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada.(Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)
The rockstar has long been an advocate for the LGBTQ community. Last year, Reynolds said he hoped an HBO documentary on Mormonism called “Believer” would prompt church leaders to change some of their ways.
Reynolds, who described himself as a “fourth generation Las Vegan raised in a very conservative Mormon family,” and Don Argott, director of “Believer” documentary, told Deadline at the time that they hoped the film would open the church leaders’ eyes to how they treat LGBTQ members.
“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 policies remain intact,” Reynolds said. “They say being gay is a sin, and until that’s taken away, speaking in platitudes and even endorsing this festival, it’s a step, but there’s a long way to go as far as moving forward.”
Reynolds said that, despite its policies, he is still a member of the church. The Mormon Church forbids same-sex couples in the congregation to baptize their children and take “other religious rites until they become adults,” the Salt Lake Tribune reported at the time.
“As long as those policies are still intact our LGBT youth still have high percentages of depression, anxiety and suicide,” Reynolds told the Tribune.
Fox News’ Kathleen Joyce contributed to this report.