Official Response to Holland's Address at BYU

On August 23, 2021, Latter-day Saint apostle Jeffrey Holland addressed faculty and staff of BYU urging them with metaphors of war-time guns to defend the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints' stance of marriage being between a man and a woman. Holland went on to accuse recent valedictorian Matt Easton of commandeering the graduation podium to talk about his experiences as a gay student at BYU (BYU faculty approved his speech). Holland then urged faculty and staff to "be careful that love and empathy do not get interpreted as condoning and advocacy, or that orthodoxy and loyalty to principle not be interpreted as unkindness or disloyalty to people." Below is our official response to the rhetoric that continues to break apart families and diminishes the support LGBTQ individuals feel within religious communities of all faiths.

On behalf of Mama Dragons, I want to recognize the many mothers and their families who have been hurt and are grieving after the confrontational words spoken in a BYU address by LDS church leader Apostle Jeffrey Holland. We know that parental and cultural acceptance is key for our LGBTQ youth to grow up as healthy as possible and Holland's reckless words add fuel to the nonacceptance of LGBTQ people, especially within conservative faith cultures like the LDS community.

We know that our LGBTQ youth face an increased risk of decreased mental health and suicide. We are also aware that only one in three LGBTQ youth report that their homes are affirming (Trevor Project). As we start National Suicide Prevention Month, we recognize that many homes and communities are in desperate need of "defenders" of LGBTQ youth - strong allies and advocates who love unconditionally, who affirm, who advocate. No muskets are needed however - only fierce and unconditional love that knows no boundaries.

We are grateful for those who choose to stay in the trenches in LDS church pews and for those BYU faculty and staff who remain at BYU to offer love and acceptance to our LDS youth and young adults. We see you, and we join our voices to yours as together we work to fuel necessary change, not only in the LDS community, but in all religious traditions that ask loving parents to choose between faith and family.

We as Mama Dragons hurt with you, your children, and the LGBTQ community. We cannot stand silent when words spoken by religious leaders divide and discriminate against LGBTQ people. We strive to build safer homes and communities where all LGBTQ individuals can thrive.

With all the love I can muster,

Celeste Carolin

Executive Director, Mama Dragons

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