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‘Mama Deb’ finds happy ending to grim fairy tales

Debi Lowry is already a bit of a legend in gay Atlanta: a fixture on dance floors and at charitable fundraisers, a surrogate mother to the dozens of gay men who affectionately know her as Mama Deb. As much as Lowry revels in her popularity and being able to offer a compassionate shoulder to those who feel turned away from their biological families, she was unsatisfied by the thought of her legacy being limited to her being a social butterfly.

“When I’m gone, when I die, I want to have had an impact on someone else’s life — I don’t want it to be just, ‘Oh, she was a really nice person’ or ‘She made me laugh,’” Lowry says. “If I can change their lives for the better, I absolutely have to do that.”