Image: LoveLoud Facebook
This year’s LoveLoud Festival in Salt Lake City Utah on Saturday July 28 raised over a million dollars for LGBT+ charities including The Trevor Project, The Human Rights Campaign, The American Foundation For Suicide Prevention and the Tegan And Sara Foundation.
Conceived by Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds in 2017, the day long music festival saw performances from acts including Imagine Dragons, Zedd, Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park and Grace VanderWaal, along with guest speakers including out Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Cook introduced The Imagine Dragons with a hopeful speech to the crowd.
“I stand before you tonight as an uncle, a sports nut, a CEO, a lover of the beautiful Utah outdoors, and a proud gay American. I’ve come to deliver a simple message that I want every LGBT person to hear and to believe: You are a gift to the world, a unique and special gift, just the way you are. Your life matters."
"To you, I say: find your truth. Speak your truth. Live your truth. Let me tell you, normal might just be the worst word ever created. We’re not all supposed to be the same, feel the same or think the same, and there is nothing wrong with you."
"Now, I know that life can be dark and heavy, and sometimes it might seem unreasonable and unbearable. But just as night turns to day, know that darkness is always followed by light. You will feel more comfortable in your own skin, attitudes will change, life will get better, and you? You will thrive.”
The day was marred by accusations that some transgender attendees were harassed by volunteers over their choice of bathrooms, causing several charities to refuse to accept money from the event. The bathrooms were meant to all be gender-inclusive and staff and volunteers had been required to participate in "LGBT+ Cultural Competency Training."
Organisers released a statement on Facebook: “We have a zero-tolerance policy toward any behavior that makes anyone feel unsafe or unwelcome. We are committed to learning from our mistakes and will continuously work to improve the lives of LGBTQ+ people in our community and beyond.”