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Meet the Dragon Dads: The Mormon Fathers Fighting for Their LGBTQ+ Kids

Meet the Dragon Dads: The Mormon Fathers Fighting for Their LGBTQ+ Kids

Mormon Dragon Dads March LGBTQ Parade Support Queer Kids
Images: Facebook @DragonDads

Fathers from conservative religious backgrounds have band together in a private support group, fostering a culture of acceptance and advocacy for their LGBTQ+ children.

Cwnewser

Amidst a confounding mix of religious beliefs and newfound realities, Jake Abhau found himself at a crossroads when his 13-year-old son, Jon, confided in him about being gay.

The revelation stirred a whirlpool of emotions for the Abhaus, devout members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, leading to an uncertain path laden with community judgments. The father shared his initial shock with NBC’s Today show, highlighting the unforeseen terrain the family was about to find themselves in.

Despite Jake Abhau’s early hesitations advising Jon to postpone coming out, the teenager was steadfast in being authentic, aiming to become a “good beacon of light” for others in similar situations.

“This is who I am. I don’t care; I am gay. God knows it,” Jon Abhau said.

Propelled by his son’s courage, Jake Abhau started a private Facebook group, Dragon Dads. This group, now a refuge for over 110 fathers from conservative religious realms with LGBTQ+ children, has become a crucible for sharing, understanding, and navigating the intricacies of familial love amidst traditional religious views.

Jake Abhau told Today, “You feel isolated because no one feels the same about us.”

The ripple of advocacy didn’t end in the virtual sphere for Jake Abhau. He and other Dragon Dads members took to the streets, participating in Pride parades, amplifying their acceptance and support for their LGBTQ+ children. He light-heartedly recounted Jon’s jest that the Dragon Dads were “gayer than he is,” a humorous testament to the protective camaraderie the dads have cultivated against discrimination.

Parallelly, Donald Christensen found his haven in Dragon Dads when his daughter, Mia, came out at 17. Like many fathers in the group, he felt a surge to protect his family from perceived threats stemming from societal and religious biases.

Reflecting on his emotions, Christensen told Today, “Even though nothing has actually changed, you suddenly feel like your family is under attack.”

As Jon Abhau embarks on his adult journey, his father’s commitment to Dragon Dads remains unswayed, extending a supportive hand to others newly acquainted with their children’s LGBTQ+ identities. The transformative journey of Dragon Dads not only unveils a narrative of evolving attitudes within conservative religious communities but also epitomizes the boundless realms of parental love transcending rigid traditional mores.

Jake Abhau said, “We see people’s lives change, and you are a small part of it," Jake Abhau said. "You get to take away the joy of seeing people’s lives changed and seeing people find a connection and acceptance. It is constantly motivating.”

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Christopher Wiggins

Christopher Wiggins is a senior national reporter for The Advocate. He has a rich career in storytelling and highlighting underrepresented voices. Growing up in a bilingual household in Germany, his German mother and U.S. Army father exposed him to diverse cultures early on, influencing his appreciation for varied perspectives and communication. His work in Washington, D.C., primarily covers the nexus of public policy, politics, law, and LGBTQ+ issues. Wiggins' reporting focuses on revealing lesser-known stories within the LGBTQ+ community. Key moments in his career include traveling with Vice President Kamala Harris and interviewing her in the West Wing about LGBTQ+ support. In addition to his national and political reporting, Wiggins represents The Advocate in the White House Press Pool and is a member of several professional journalistic organizations, including the White House Correspondents’ Association, Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists, and Society of Professional Journalists. His involvement in these groups highlights his commitment to ethical journalism and excellence in the field. Follow him on X/Twitter @CWNewser (https://twitter.com/CWNewser) and Threads @CWNewserDC (https://www.threads.net/@cwnewserdc).
Christopher Wiggins is a senior national reporter for The Advocate. He has a rich career in storytelling and highlighting underrepresented voices. Growing up in a bilingual household in Germany, his German mother and U.S. Army father exposed him to diverse cultures early on, influencing his appreciation for varied perspectives and communication. His work in Washington, D.C., primarily covers the nexus of public policy, politics, law, and LGBTQ+ issues. Wiggins' reporting focuses on revealing lesser-known stories within the LGBTQ+ community. Key moments in his career include traveling with Vice President Kamala Harris and interviewing her in the West Wing about LGBTQ+ support. In addition to his national and political reporting, Wiggins represents The Advocate in the White House Press Pool and is a member of several professional journalistic organizations, including the White House Correspondents’ Association, Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists, and Society of Professional Journalists. His involvement in these groups highlights his commitment to ethical journalism and excellence in the field. Follow him on X/Twitter @CWNewser (https://twitter.com/CWNewser) and Threads @CWNewserDC (https://www.threads.net/@cwnewserdc).