Dan Reynolds continues to prove his status as an LGBTQ ally.
The American singer-songwriter, who graced the cover of GAY TIMES in January year, and his band Imagine Dragons were the winners of the Top Rock Artist award at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards this week.
Dan used the opportunity to highlight a cause close to his heart, dedicating his speech to LGBTQ youth who have been – or are at risk of being – put through the harmful practice of gay conversion ‘therapy’.
“I just wanna take this moment to say there are still 34 states that have no laws banning conversion therapy, and on top of that 58% of our LGBTQ population live in those states,” he said.
“This can change, but its gonna take all of us talking to our state legislators [and] pushing forward laws to protect our LGBTQ youth.”
The so-called therapy, which has been discredited by the NHS and the World Psychiatric Association, refers to any attempt at changing a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, and often involves techniques like electroshock therapy or prayer.
Dan continued: “Lastly I just wanna say, we have seen with conversion therapy that our LGBTQ youth have double the rate of depression and triple the rate of suicide after conversion therapy. It’s not working and it needs to change.”
When he appeared on the cover of GAY TIMES earlier this year, Imagine Dragons frontman Dan spoke about the reasons why he, a straight white male who grew up in a devout Mormon family, has become such a huge ally.
“One of my best friends in middle school was gay and Mormon, and that was the first time I was really faced with a conflict with my religion,” he recalled.
“I was raised in Mormonism, where you are taught that being gay is a sin, so as a 12 year old I was faced with that conflict of, ‘Well, I have a friend who’s gay and is maybe the best person I know, this doesn’t make sense’.
“That was the first time I questioned ‘God’s will’ and didn’t feel like God was aligning with what my heart was telling me, which was that my friend’s love was just as valid as mine.”
He also explained why it’s so important that more straight white males speak out in support of LGBTQ people.
“Our culture will not move forward if people of privilege aren’t using that voice and that platform they’ve been given to shine a light on those who have been stigmatised, those who have not been given that privilege,” he said.
“So I think that it’s extremely important for straight males especially, who are the most privileged, to speak out and stand up and say, ‘We need to be better’.”