TikTok 'stand-in families' offer unconditional love and support to LGBTQ+ community


Jul. 8 2024, Published 4:26 p.m. ET

In 2018, Dan Blevins walked his daughter down the aisle. "Just the thought of someone not having that parent at their wedding or in their life was heartbreaking to me," he shared. That thought inspired him to take action.

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Dan posted to TikTok inviting same-sex couples who lacked parental support to reach out to him. "If you are a same-sex couple getting married and don't have biological parents there to support you, please let me know," Dan stated in his video.

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Source: Free Mom Hugs

Dan took some of his inspiration from the Free Mom Hugs project.

His inspiration came from Sarah Cunningham, founder of Free Mom Hugs. Dan, a Tennessee hairdresser, wanted to offer his services as a stand-in dad for LGBTQ+ weddings.

The video blew up, prompting Dan and his friend Ray Otto, who immediately understood the need for such a project, to create the Facebook group, TikTok Stand-In Families.

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As reported by TODAY, the group's growth has been phenomenal. It now boasts over 32,000 members across 60 countries. Dan, who has children of his own, has welcomed four more kids into his family, and Ray has added two nephews to hers. The group has become a movement, turning strangers into family members and providing crucial support for many.

Dan and Ray’s vision is clear: to create a world where no one feels alone, and everyone can find the family and support they need. Their dedication and the outpouring of love from the TikTok Stand-In Families group redefine what family means and show how much support can impact lives positively.

The group has recently announced their long awaited app is nearly complete, having just entered the testing phase.


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