Meg Abhau said she isn’t a mama bear, but a mama dragon. This saying touched Jill Rowe, a fellow parent of an LGBT child. Later, when the two and a small group of friends decided to start a Facebook group to help more moms, Mama Dragons was the perfect name.
“I could literally breathe fire if someone hurt my son,” Abhau posted on her blog in early 2012, two years before the official Mama Dragons Facebook page was created.
In the past four years, the group grew from a secret group of just a few Latter-day Saint mothers to over 2,500 mothers of many different faiths. Mama Dragons’ main focus is helping mothers accept and love their LGBT children.
Lisa Evans Dame, the mother of a lesbian child and a Mama Dragons board member, has attended many events as part of her involvement with the organization. Dame represented Mama Dragons at the Provo Pride Festival in September, where she gave out hugs and stickers to the LGBT community and let them know they are loved regardless of their home support. She also participated in the Love Loud Festival and the Out of Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk.
Dame joined the organization after a Mama Dragon from Facebook invited her to lunch. After joining, she attended a Mama Dragons retreat.
“It was amazing to walk into a room with all these moms that knew my journey and knew how this felt,” Dame said. “They’ve become very close friends. We support each other in all kinds of ways.”
Marina Davis, a Mama Dragon from Alberta, said Mama Dragons have a special understanding with one another and gives her a judgment-free place where she feels she belongs.
“Most of my friends don’t have gay children,” Davis said. “They don’t feel the pain I do when a conference talk condemns gay marriage or gay relationships. Mama Dragons understand. We feel each other’s pain.”
Davis’ journey to accepting her gay son has been a process. She said her attitudes towards him and her desires for his life have changed since he came out to the family 10 years ago.
“Things will be different than you thought, but that doesn’t mean it will be bad. Our gay children’s futures are bright and hopeful, just not on the same path you thought it wou
ld be,” Davis said. “They deserve and need our unconditional support to make their own life choices.”
She said LGBT children should be patient with their parents, as absorbing and accepting their child’s new journey may take more time for some parents than it does for others.
Rowe, a Mama Dragon board member, said she feels being involved with Mama Dragons gave her incredible friendships, a support system and a voice.
Rowe said while Mama Dragons hopes to double their membership within the next year, her ultimate goal is for every Mama Dragon to find peace “with who they are, the child they’ve raised and the positive influence they can have in the world.”
Rowe said the way Mama Dragons can have a positive influence is by teaching unconditional love.
“God wants us to love all of his children, and if we have been blessed to bring into our family a LGBTQ child, that love needs to be extended to them completely and wholly, without conditions,” Rowe said.
Rowe encouraged LGBT BYU students to utilize local resources, such as the group Understanding Sexuality, Gender and Allyship at BYU, and shared a special message for them.
“You have support. You are loved. You are perfect just as you are. I know it’s super scary to come out, to not feel like you’ll be safe, but I can say after my son came out is when he really started living,” Rowe said.
Rowe said before her son came out to her, she believed being gay couldn’t be anything other than a choice. But through prayer, she received knowledge that her son did not choose to be gay and that he was perfect the way he was and loved by God.
She encouraged parents to seek their own revelation on the topic and said each and every individual is entitled to their own personal answers.
“If religion does not teach us to love each other then I feel like it’s not important,” Rowe said. “That’s the basics. ‘Love me and love your neighbor.’ Everything else hinges on that.”