Updated: Aug 17
By Lisa Evans Dame
The dragon, as folklore, exists in almost every ancient civilization from the beginning of recorded history. They were often portrayed as great winged creatures who breathed fire and had indestructible scales covering their bodies. These dragons were depicted on flags, tapestries and in paintings. They were also drawn on early maps to signify an unknown area or to warn of possible danger as yet unseen. There is a certain globe, one of the earliest, that contains the Latin words “hic sunt dracones” which translated means, “Here be dragons”. It was written on the globe as if to say, “This area of the world is unknown and treacherous, and there could very well be dragons”.
My first experience with modern day dragons – Mama Dragons to be exact – happened a few months after my daughter Erin came out to me as a lesbian in 2014. I made a comment on a Mormon LGBTQ Facebook page and a message popped up from someone I didn’t recognize. She said that it looked like we lived in the same area. I asked why she was on the LGBTQ page and she told me she had a gay son. I shared with her that my lesbian daughter had just come out a few months before. She suggested that we meet for lunch that week, and I jumped at the chance. It was so wonderful to talk to another mother of my faith who had an LGBTQ child and was unhappy, like I was, with the narrative we had been taught our children were sinning by acting on who they are. I hadn’t yet met anyone who had an LGBTQ child and wanted their child to live a full life in spite of what was taught in our church. Going out to lunch with my new friend opened up a world of other Mormon moms to me who were affirming of their LGBTQ children. She told me that there was a small group for moms like us called Mama Dragons. The name had come from another mother who felt you needed to be more than a mama bear when you had a gay child. You needed claws and scales and dragon breath to protect and defend them. I had been introduced to Mama Dragons.
The next year I was able to attend a Mama Dragons retreat with over 40 women. Even though I only knew two women in the room when I arrived, I didn’t feel nervous because I knew that this group of women (more than any other group I had ever been with) knew how this felt for me. I was excited to learn of other mothers and how they were processing their own children’s coming out. As I walked into the room that was already filled with women laughing, talking, and connecting, I felt tears come to my eyes. There were so many of us. I wasn’t alone anymore. I sat down right away with a woman I had never seen before and asked her to tell me about her child. After she shared her story, she asked me about my daughter and for the first time since Erin had come out, I felt so excited to tell someone my hopes and dreams for her life, which included the relationship she was in with her first girlfriend. It was healing to feel how happy and hopeful this woman was for my daughter. You could see this happening with everyone in the room. Women laughing, crying and sharing something so close to their hearts with joy and openness. I was hooked! Hooked on Mama Dragons and the unconditional love we all have for our children. I made friends at that retreat with women who I am still close with and will be for the rest of my life.
Mama Dragons continues to grow with each passing year. We now have almost 3000 in our Facebook group with women all over the United States as well as other countries! We are no longer a group for only Mormon mothers but happily welcome all mothers regardless of their religious affiliation. That affirming feeling of love and acceptance that I had walking into that room of mothers who understood my journey, continues to be the main objective of Mama Dragons. We want all to experience connection, through the love and acceptance we feel for our beautiful and valued children.
We are on a journey together. We feel as if we have come to the end of the map of our known world, and we are venturing into uncharted territory. We have felt fear and uncertainty, but we forge ahead because the lives of our children depend on our strength to find a path. As we travel into this difficult place we do find dragons. These fire-breathing dragons are fierce and strong, but their arms are open and their hearts are full of love.
Here be dragons.