Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds used his band’s Top Rock Artist win at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards to blast conversion therapy. Reynolds has been an outspoken advocate of LGBTQ+ rights, particularly in his own Mormon community, and was behind the HBO documentary “Believer” which exposes the painful ostracization and hatred of gay people in the LDS church. In March, it won a GLAAD Award for Best Documentary.
Taking to the stage at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena, Reynolds stated, “There are 34 states that don’t ban conversion therapy,” referring to the pseudo-science that attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation from homosexual or bisexual to heterosexual using psychological or spiritual means. “Our LGBT youth have doubled the rate of depression, tripled the rate of suicide after conversion therapy,” he continued. “It’s not working and needs to change.”
Flanked by bandmates Wayne Sermon, Ben McKee and Daniel Platzman and presenters Florida Georgia Line, Reynolds barely acknowledged the group’s rock category win, though it was a deserved one: Imagine Dragons’ most recent albums, 2018’s “Origins” and 2017’s “Evolve,” yielded a number of hits across multiple formats. They include “Believer,” “Thunder,” “Whatever It Takes” and “Natural.” Among their frequent collaborators is songwriter Justin Tranter, who tweeted his gratitude later in the night.
Thank you @DanReynolds !!! Xoxo https://t.co/A2AoPDXBKu
— Justin Tranter (@justtranter) May 2, 2019
See the full list of BBMAs winners here.