“I just want to take this moment to say that there are 34 States that have no laws banning conversion therapy. And on top of that, 58 percent of our LGBTQ population live in those states. This can change, but it’s going to take all of us talking to our state legislators, pushing forward laws to protect our LGBTQ youth,” Dan Reynolds, lead singer of the band Imagine Dragons, said during the band’s acceptance speech for best rock artist at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards.
On Wednesday, Feb. 5, Reynolds, along with Neon Trees’ Tyler Glenn and Carmen Carrera met with Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18), Co-Chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, and Rep. Ted Lieu (CA-33), a Vice-Chair of the Equality Caucus, at the United States Capitol to discuss issues of significance to LGBTQ youth with a focus on the importance of a federal ban on conversion therapy funded through taxpayer money.
Was pleased to join @RepSeanMaloney in welcoming @DanReynolds @tylerinacoma @Carmen_Carrera to the Hill today to discuss our mutual goal of banning taxpayer-funded conversion therapy, a fraudulent practice that threatens the wellbeing of many LGBTQ+ youth. pic.twitter.com/pDOBBI0GA2
— Rep. Ted Lieu (@RepTedLieu) February 5, 2020
Conversion “therapy” harms thousands of #LGBTQ kids every year. It has no legitimate medical application and should NOT be funded by taxpayer $$. Thanks to @LOVELOUDfest, @DanReynolds, @tylerinacoma & @Carmen_Carrera for standing with me in this fight. #ImagineEquality pic.twitter.com/T90L4Y98d0
— Sean Patrick Maloney (@RepSeanMaloney) February 6, 2020
Reynolds, an advocate and ally for the LGBTQ community, founded the LOVELOUD Festival in 2016 along with Tyler Glenn, lead singer of Neon Trees to recognize issues regarding LGBT+ youth. A year later, Reynolds created the LOVELOUD Foundation as a way to “bring communities and families together to help ignite the vital conversation about what it means to unconditionally love our LGBTQ+ youth.”
On Wednesday evening, Reynolds, Glenn, and Carrera hosted a screening of “Believer,” a film that documents Reynolds pursuit of organizing the first LOVELOUD Festival in Orem, Utah and his mission to challenge the Mormon Church’s policies concerning its LGBT members.
Currently 19 states in the U.S. to fully ban conversion therapy. Recently, Virginia’s House of Delegates passed the Virginia Values Act, which adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s non discrimination laws, making Virginia the first Southern state with LGBTQ protections. Following not too far behind in Virginia is legislation to ban conversion therapy. Once signed, Virginia will become the 20th state with a ban on conversion therapy.