Dan Blevins is a stand-in dad. He responded to a video on TikTok recently where the original poster, Alex Jiggs, asked, tears in her eyes: “Can you rent a parent? Like, is there a program where you can pay, to just like, have a parent for a bit?”
Blevins responded, in his gentle, saccharine Southern accent, receiving over 240,000 likes: “Hi Alex, I’ve been summoned.”
This isn’t his first rodeo.
“I have a group called Stand In Pride, where we connect members of the LGBTQ+ community with other members and allies for emotional support, or to physically stand in at live events like weddings or graduations,” he explained in the video.
Blevins first went viral in January 2021 when he put out a bat signal to LGBTQ+ folks who needed a stand-in parent at their weddings.
“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,” he said in that fateful video.
Since then, his network of loving parents has grown exponentially. Stand In Pride’s international Facebook group started small and has now reached nearly 50,000 members in over 60 countries.
“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 was heartbreaking to me,” Blevins said on TODAY.
He was inspired by Sarah Cunningham, the founder of Free Mom Hugs, an organization with a similar approach to connecting affirming volunteer ‘parents’ with members of the LGBTQ+ community.
The impact is immeasurable. Posts in the Facebook group flood folks with support, as they take the brave motion to introduce themselves as individuals distanced from their biological families who need some connection, or as loving family units who can offer that care and community.
And it’s not just weddings or graduations; it’s folks opening up their dining tables on holidays, swapping life advice, or just flexing that muscle of care and consideration in a non-traditional way.
“I don’t have any kids of my own, but I am a great aunt,” one user writes in the group. “Here to offer support to anyone who needs some!”
“In our house, everyone is welcome,” another stand-in family member said in an introduction post. “We have a guest room and lots of love, understanding, and support to give.”
Many of the members are in the LGBTQ+ community themselves.
“I’m here, I’m queer, and I’ll support you wherever you are,” another member added.
No matter the location or circumstances, the thousands of group members adhere to rules of kindness, privacy, and openness.
“Stand In Pride was created to help people just like you find chosen family,” Blevins said in his video addressing Alex. “We have members all over the world; more moms, dads, uncles, aunts, siblings, cousins, grandparents than you can even imagine.”
In a time where the LGBTQ+ community continues to face political attacks, accepting adults (and folks of all ages) are more vital than ever to the safety and well-being of queer youth.
“They’ve all come together for one reason: they have extra love to give, and they want to be there for you,” Blevins said. “And it’s all free of charge.”