Dan Reynolds is not afraid of alienating some in his audience. The Imagine Dragons frontman has been a fierce and outspoken ally for the LGBTQ community for the last few years, and has seen his fair share of criticism for being so vocal.
Reynolds opened up about that criticism in a recent interview with Vulture. The artist said that many of his critics were conservative parents who didn’t agree with his message of equality. “Going into this, I knew there would be people on the far right who were going to be upset,” he said of his activism. “People tell me they won’t allow their kids to go to my concerts anymore; that when I get to heaven, God’s going to be upset with me because I made so many kids gay.”
But Reynolds also revealed that his critics aren’t limited to religious conservatives who are anti-LGBTQ — the singer revealed that there are many on the opposite side who disparage his work. “And there’s also going to be people on the far left who are upset. Because, who the fuck am I, mister white privileged guy,” he said. “And I get it, but for me, I have to speak my truth and what I believe is, when it comes to issues like this, everybody has to do their part.”
While Reynolds has been an outspoken ally for years, he became publicly known for his involvement when he started Love Loud, a now-annual music festival based in Utah that raises money and awareness for organizations helping at-risk LGBTQ youth. He made his position unequivocally clear with his 2017 documentary Believer, where the singer charted his journey learning about suicide among Mormon LGBTQ youth, further spurring his allyship.
“I have seen so much damage done to these families,” he said in the interview. “I’ve met with so many parents who’ve lost kids to suicide. I have so much fire about it. I want change, and I know that I can help make change.”
Reynolds also talked about the Mormon Church’s recent effort to bring more LGBTQ people in by clarifying that they accept queer people, just not their behavior. “The infuriating part for me and for all these kids is that it’s actually doing more damage,” he said. “What they’re doing is saying: ‘There is a place for you. A safe place for you. Come on in. But here are your options: Celibacy, mixed orientation marriage — so marry outside your sexual preference, or lie, or tell the truth and be excommunicated.’”
Read the full interview with Reynolds about his LGBTQ activism here.