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The Heartbreaking Story Behind Dan Reynolds's Rainbow Ring

Dan Reynolds

The Imagine Dragons singer wears a reminder of the cost of bigotry.

Dan Reynolds wears two rainbow rings on his hands as reminders of the need to fight for LGBT equality.

The Imagine Dragons singer showed the pieces of jewelry to The Advocate Saturday before the commencement of LoveLoud, a music festival he launched in 2017 to support queer young people.

"This was given to me by a Mormon mom whose son came out to her, and now she's fully accepted him," said Reynolds, an ally who was raised Mormon. He then pointed to the rainbow-hued band on his right hand.

"This ring was given to me by a Mormon mom whose son committed suicide because of religious guilt. And she has since left the church. But it's my reminder every day -- let's go" fight for equality, he said.

LoveLoud was launched by Reynolds in 2017 in response to the deadly impact of anti-LGBT stances taken by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The youth suicide rate in Utah, where the Mormon Church is based, quadrupled between 2007 and 2015. Nationally, LGBT youth are disproportionately impacted by this crisis, as they are 8.5 times likelier to attempt to take their life than straight peers, according to the Utah Department of Health.

Reynolds's band, Imagine Dragons, was the capstone of a star-studded musical festival, whose lineup included Tyler Glenn, Jussie Smollett, Mary Lambert, Vincint, Mike Shinoda, Zedd, and Wrabel. Tim Cook, out CEO of Apple, introduced Reynolds and also delivered a message to LGBT youth: "You are a gift to the world."

During his performance, Reynolds, wrapping himself in a glittering rainbow flag, told the crowd that his activism was not rooted in anger against organized religion.

"I don't have anger. This is love," a tearful Reynolds told the crowd of over 30,000 at the Rice-Eccles stadium in Salt Lake City. "It's a desire to not lose our youth. We cannot lose any more."

"We must change our culture," he said to the crowd's cheers. "We must, we must, we must change our culture."

LoveLoud raised over $1 million for LGBT youth, which will benefit organizations like the Trevor Project, the Tegan and Sara Foundation, and Encircle. Over 5 million people have streamed the festival online on the Twitter account of AT&T, which sponsored the event.

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