Meet the fierce group of mothers, known as ‘Mama Dragons’, protecting LGBT+ Mormon kids in Utah
A fierce group of Mormon mothers who call themselves the “Mama Dragons” are on a mission to protect LGBT+ kids in Utah, where suicide among young church members is becoming a crisis.
Mama Dragons was formed in 2012, when Mormon mother Meg Abhau wrote a blog post about her 13-year-old son coming out as gay.
She wrote: “I have always been a mother bear. Once I found out about Jon, that didn’t seem a fierce enough title.
“There is a whole new level of protection that has come over me. I now call myself a Mama Dragon. I could literally breathe fire if someone hurt my son.”
According to the group’s website, what started as a handful of mothers with LGBT+ children has now become a group of more than 4,000 women.
Utah has the highest suicide rate among children aged between 10 and 17 in the whole of the United States, and it is the leading cause of death for that age group.
Of the state’s entire population, 68 percent are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS), otherwise known as the Mormon church.
The Mama Dragons are clear that the treatment of LGBT+ kids by the LDS church is a contributing factor to the skyrocketing youth suicide rates.
She explained that there is a difference between religion and its gospel, which she describes as “perfect”, and the LDS church, which she says is definitely “imperfect”.
Allgood said: “Utah’s problem is that our suicide rate has been climbing in youth and that’s appalling… In the book on how to be a perfect Mormon mother, there’s no chapter on how to parent your gay kid.
“Mama Dragons is helping to write that chapter.”
Allgood said that for many Mormon mothers, their child coming out as LGBT+ marks “the start of a real faith crisis for them”. Mama Dragons, she said, helps those mothers “not feel alone”.
As well as supporting mother of LGBT+ children in the LDS church, the Mama Dragons are literally saving the lives of queer kids.
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From offering free hugs at Pride events, to holding family dinners for LGBT+ Mormon youth, they help to stop young people becoming victims of Utah’s suicide crisis.
Another member, Alyson Deussen, said: “Most Mama Dragons that I work with and know have their finger on the pulse of at least 15 kids.
“Talking through how they might be able to come out to their parents, or how to handle their situation with their parents.
“Part of that is suicide prevention, understanding. We’re saying: ‘Oh no, that’s not going to happen on my watch.'”
She added: “The church has made is fairly clear where they stand on gay relationships, and so if you can’t get on this ship, then those of us that are in the trenches are going to make it happen.
“And that’s what Mama Dragons do.”