Imagine Dragons declare shows a ‘safe space’ for LGBTQ+ people: ‘We care about basic human rights’

Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds performs shirtless on stage with an LGBTQ+ flag wrapped around his shoulders.

Imagine Dragons have a history of standing in solidarity with LGBTQ+ fans, and now they’ve officially declared their shows a “safe space” for queer people.

The importance of musicians standing up and voicing their support for LGBTQ+ people can’t be understated. With 2023 becoming a historic year for the community, and not in a good way – more anti-LGBTQ+ bills were put forward in the US by February of this year than in the whole of 2022 – vocal allies have never been so vital.

Take Paramore’s Hayley Williams, for example. In addition to headlining the “Love Rising” benefit concert in March, raising funds for queer organisations in the southern state of Tennessee, the pop punk star has used her platform to speak out against Ron DeSantis, the anti-LGBTQ+ governor of Florida and presidential hopeful.

“If you vote for Ron DeSantis, you’re f*****g dead to me,” she told a crowd in May, following DeSantis’s long and troubling history of legislating against queer people.

Pop icons from Madonna to Hozier and Taylor Swift have spoken out about the anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and shared messages of support, while Beyoncé even made her global Renaissance Tour an unashamed love letter to the queer community

Now, pop rock band Imagine Dragons, known for monster hits including “Demons” and “Radioactive”, are the latest in a long line of musicians using their concerts as a space for supporting queer people, and shouting down the bigots.

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During one scene in the band’s new documentary, Imagine Dragons Live in Vegas, filmed during a concert in the band’s home town, lead singer Dan Reynolds spots a fan in the audience holding a Progress Pride flag.

He grabs the flag and marches across the stage, holding it above his head, while singing the lyric “I’m never changing who I am” from their huge debut single “It’s Time”.

It’s not the first time the band has displayed solidarity with the community, either. In 2017, Reynolds founded the annual LoveLoud festival in the US, in a bid to raise awareness of “the realities of what LGBTQ+ teens face daily” and to raise funds for queer charities across the country.

Dan Reynolds holds LGBTQ+ pride flag.
Dan Reynolds san while holding an LGBTQ+ Pride Progress flag. (Getty)

He also stood up against parents who told him he’d angered God for “making so many kids gay”, while the band’s bassist, Ben McKee, can often be spotted performing on stage with a guitar the same colour as the trans flag.

“We care deeply about human rights, basic human rights, about the ability to love who you want,” Reynolds recently told Insider.

“Some of us grew up with religious backgrounds where we witnessed a lot of hate, a lot of bigotry. And we are looking to contribute love to the world, to have a voice for those who don’t get to be on a stage.”

Ben McKee of Imagine Dragons holds up a guitar painted in the trans flag colours.
Ben McKee of Imagine Dragons with a guitar painted in the trans flag colours. (YouTube)

While Reynolds is adamant that the band has “done very little” and aren’t “righteous warriors looking to be heroic”, there is an undeniable impact of seeing cisgender, heterosexual, chart-topping superstars standing with LGBTQ+ folk.

Particularly, when some celebrities with huge platforms seem intent on tearing the community down.

“Everybody deserves the right to feel included,” bassist McKee added, before explaining why he decides to step out on stage with the trans flag guitar.

“It just seemed like I had the opportunity to bring some symbols of that love and inclusion into the performance… I want everybody who comes to our shows to be able to feel they are represented by our music and to be able to see something that makes them feel welcome.”

McKee said that, as a child, he spent his holidays around same-sex couples in his family, and never knew that that inclusive environment didn’t exist for everyone. Now, the band is making that safe space available for all.

“Imagine Dragons shows are a safe place for everyone,” he said.

Imagine Dragons: Live in Vegas is available now on Hulu.

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