Imagine Dragons Seize Moment at Billboard Music Awards to Ask 34 States to Ban Conversion Therapy

By Karen Bliss 5/1/19 |

Imagine Dragons at 2019 Billboard Music Awards — photo credit: screenshot.

Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds came fully prepared with a strong message when his band won the Billboard Music Award for top rock artist tonight (May 1) in their hometown of Las Vegas.

“I just want to take this moment to say there are still 34 states that have no laws banning conversion therapy — 34, and on top of that, 58 percent of our LGBTQ population live in those states. This can change, this can change,” Reynolds emphasized, surrounded by bandmates guitarist Wayne Sermon, bassist Ben McKee, and drummer Daniel Platzman.

“But it’s going to take all of us talking to our state legislation, pushing forward laws to protect our LGBTQ youth. And lastly, I just want to say 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. Needs to change.”

And with that, the band took their award and went. Message sent.

According to the Trevor Project — an American organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under the age of 25 — "conversion therapy, sometimes referred to as 'reparative therapy,' is any of several dangerous and discredited practices aimed at changing an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

"Conversion therapists use a variety of shaming, emotionally traumatic or physically painful stimuli to make their victims associate those stimuli with their LGBTQ identities. According to studies by the UCLA Williams Institute, more than 700,000 LGBTQ people have been subjected to the horrors of conversion therapy, and an estimated 80,000 LGBTQ youth will experience this unprofessional conduct in coming years, often at the insistence of well-intentioned but misinformed parents or caretakers."

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