Jason Duaine Hahn
Jan 27, 2022
Tenn. Dad Offers to Stand in as a Parent at LGBTQ Weddings — and Starts a TikTok Trend
Dan Blevins' TikTok video offer has received thousands of comments on the platform, with several others pledging to walk in his footsteps
A TikToker has rallied thousands of people to stand in as families at the weddings of members of the LGBTQ community thanks to a viral video.
Last January, Dan Blevins uploaded a video to TikTok where he put out a public invitation for anyone from the LGBTQ community to ask him to serve as a stand-in parent at their wedding in the event their loved ones aren't supportive of their relationship.
"If you are a same-sex couple that's getting married and you do not have biological parents there to support you, please let me know," Blevins said in the video. "If I'm not able to attend your wedding, I have friends that will. We have a big network and it just continues to grow of moms and dads that want to be a part of your big day."
"So message me, please share, duet, let people know," he continued. "Let's help spread this message that there's parents that want to be there for you on your big wedding day and we'll be your biggest fans."
The video garnered thousands of interactions on the platform, with many users sharing their own emotional experiences of their parents or relatives rejecting them for their sexuality or gender identity.
"I just want parents," one user replied. "My birth parents turned on me because I'm trans. I think what [Blevins is] doing is great."
Others stepped in to volunteer themselves as stand-ins.
"I don't know if I can pass for a mom, but I am HERE to be your auntie, big sis, little sis, or cousin," another user wrote.
In an interview with Today, Blevins, of Tennessee, said the response inspired him to start a Facebook group where community members and stand-ins could meet each other. The group, "TikTok Stand In Families," has nearly 34,000 members as of Thursday.
"In 2018, I walked my own daughter down the aisle, and just the thought of someone not having that parent at their wedding or in their life, it was just heartbreaking to me," Blevins told the outlet.
The group has already made a difference in the lives of its members. One of the group's volunteers, Amy Brinsfield, drove four hours to attend the wedding of Tracy Dieleman.
"I don't really have family except my sister," Dieleman told Today. "Amy was basically the only one that was like, if you don't mind, I can come."
The power in a display of support — such as the one that Brinsfield showed Dieleman — is not to be understated.
According to a 2018 study from the Human Rights Campaign, 67 percent of LGBTQ youth hear their families make negative comments about LGBTQ people, which leads to 78 percent of them choosing not to come out to their families.
Some 48 percent of LGBTQ youth say their families make them feel bad about their identity, the organization said.