Story at a glance
- After a video of him offering to attend weddings of same-sex couples who don’t have the support of their biological families went viral on TikTok, Daniel Blevins created the Facebook group TikTok Stand In families, which now has nearly 30,000 members.
- The group consists of LGBTQ people and allies either looking for or offering support.
- LGBTQ youth who had access to affirming spaces, including online communities, reported lower rates of attempting suicide than those who did not, according to the Trevor Project.
In a viral TikTok video posted early this year, Daniel Blevins offers to attend the marriage ceremonies of same-sex couples who don’t have the support of their biological families.
“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, who goes by Zombie Dan on TikTok, says 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,” he says.
Shortly after his video went viral, Belvins in late January co-created the Facebook group “TikTok Stand In Families,” which now has nearly 30,000 members.
Both LGBTQ+ people and allies belong to the group, and thousands have attended weddings, funerals, and other major life events. Many have also opened their doors for the holidays to those who may be without a family to celebrate with.
Belvins, who is gay, told USA Today he was blessed to have had parents who never had a problem with his sexuality. He said he wanted to give that support to others who have not been so lucky.
“For me, it’s kind of a way of giving them what I had,” he said.
With his friend Rae Otto, Belvins created TikTok Stand In Families, choosing Facebook as the platform to keep the group private, particularly for people who may not be out yet, according to USA Today.
Aside from supporting each other at in-person gatherings, the group has also become a space for advice, words of encouragement, and mutual aid.
“One of the very first stories that I can remember was a mother who had twins that were transitioning and had reached out asking for help to get her twins [chest] binders,” Blevins said. “She didn’t know anything about binders, but she wanted to get them, and I remember crying, reading the comments.”
About 42 percent of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of trans and nonbinary youth, according to a national LGBTQ mental health survey conducted by the Trevor Project.
But LGBTQ youth who had access to affirming spaces, including online communities, reported lower rates of attempting suicide than those who did not. Nearly 70 percent of respondents said they accessed spaces which affirmed their sexual orientation or gender identity online, according to the survey.
Factors like affirming parents, finding a community online, and feeling seen were also listed by the Trevor Project as things that help LGBTQ youth find joy.
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