Imagine Dragons may have won the award for Top Rock Artist, but they made unofficial Top LGBTI Ally last night (1 May) at the Billboard Music Awards.
The rock group, made up of Dan Reynolds, Wayne Sermon, Ben McKee, and Daniel Platzman, used their acceptance speech to make a powerful statement about conversion therapy.
Taking the mic, Reynolds slammed the ’34 states that have no laws banning conversion therapy’ in a damming acceptance speech.
What did he say?
While on the Grand Garden Arena stage in Las Vegas, Nevada, the lead singer delivered a powerful speech.
‘On top of that,’ he continued, ‘58% of our LGBTQ population live in those states.
‘This can change. But it’s going to to take all of us talking to our state legislation pushing forward lives to protect our LGBTQ youth.
‘Lastly I just want to say, we have seen with conversion therapy our LGBTQ youth have doubled the rate of depression, triple the rate of suicide after conversion therapy.
‘It’s not working, it needs to change.’
‘In front of millions’
Winning the award relatively early in the evening, many viewers were caught off guard by the weight of the band’s speech.
Taking to Twitter, fans conveyed their respect to Reynolds. One said: ‘In front of millions of people, Dan Reynolds and Imagine Dragons brought attention to one of the largest problems the queer community faces.
‘I’m literally ready to cry.’
Another said: ‘Respect to Imagine Dragons Dan Reynolds for using their BBMAs speech to solely discuss conversion therapy on mainstream US TV.’
‘My respect for Dan Reynolds and Imagine Dragons is undescribable [sic],’ a user added.
Conversion therapy is still common
Also called reparative therapy, medical organizations have widely critisized the treatment as traumatizing and harmful to minors.
In fact, the American Academy of Paediatrics warned against it as early as 1993. They said it reinforced anxiety and shame.
Despite such denouncement, the ‘therapy’ has remained common in pockets of the US.
But between 2012 and 2018, lawmakers across 14 states were kept busy with passing laws prohibiting conversion therapy for minors.
Though, the impact of the practise has been immeasurable. An estimated 698,000 LGBTI adults in the US have received conversion therapy according to research.
Around half of them underwent the unsound therapy as teens.