Stand In Pride
March 15, 2024 2:48 PM   Subscribe

"A while ago my wife introduced me to Stand In Pride, where queer people can find stand-in family members for support and indeed often for big life events — when their biological families don’t show up. And so it came to pass that a couple of weeks ago I had the singular honour of walking Taylor down the aisle to marry Ruth. Family is what you make it. Love endures." (via @chrisphin on Mastodon, with their permission and featuring lovely pictures of the wedding.)

Sarah Declouette was crushed late last year to learn that her mom had decided not to attend her wedding to her girlfriend of two years, Lori Avitia.
“I’ve been openly gay since I was 15, so it really hurt to find out she didn’t want to share this happy moment in my life,” said Declouette, 35, of Ventura, Calif. In the raw emotion of that moment, Declouette recorded her thoughts in a video, which she posted on TikTok (warning: heartbreaking.)
Back in 2021, after seeing people post stories similar to Declouette’s on social media, Daniel Blevins offered on TikTok to be a stand-in parent for anyone who lived near him and was in need at their LGBTQ+ wedding. If he couldn’t make it, he said, he had a network of friends who might be able to. He said he was inspired to post his video after he learned about Free Mom Hugs, a group started in 2019 by Sara Cunningham, an Oklahoma City woman who had offered to be a stand-in mom at gay nuptials. Right after he posted, he was flooded with messages from strangers who also offered to be stand-in parents at gay weddings in their area. (Washington Post)

Stand In Pride, founded by Tennessee-based Daniel Blevins in 2021, takes the form of a series of regional Facebook groups formed to connect queer people with straight allies. In these regional groups, straight allies post offers of support to become “stand-in family" — sometimes in the form of walking queer people down the aisle, other times simply showing up at their graduations or just offering emotional support. Queer people post introductions and specific requests for support, and group members step up to help. (pridesource.com)

Blevins 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. 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,”(goodgoodgood.co)

Stand in Pride now has volunteers across the country who help to run five Facebook regional support groups in the United States, and there are more than 100,000 members worldwide from 70 countries.
Main (US) Facebook Page
Canadian Facebook Page
International Facebook Page
If you're not on Facebook, do not fret: they are building an app. Click StandInPrideApp for details and to donate.

In a world where queer individuals may face isolation and rejection from their biological families, groups like Stand In Pride can be transformative. “Coming from a non-supporting family, having people around to support you and who are proud of you for just being you makes you feel less alone," said 26-year old Jessica Young. She added that, for many, it signals something potentially life-saving: "That your life does matter and that you are worth something.” (pridesource.com)

Cultivating a Chosen Family: Interview with Blevins on All Things Considered

(I'm not on Facebook but if there are any Toronto folks who need a Dad for a thing, just let me know!)
posted by chococat (16 comments total) 67 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm crying at work now with Mendelssohn's wedding march playing in my head. Thank you.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 3:04 PM on March 15 [5 favorites]


Without even watching any of the videos, I got a bit teary reading this, partly because of how sweet it is that people are stepping up to be present like this, and also because of how appalling it is that people are still being rejected by their own family over their identity.

I'll watch these, but not right before a Teams meeting.
posted by Dip Flash at 3:05 PM on March 15 [12 favorites]


Thank you for this.

In the Before Times we marched with PFLAG at our local Pride parade, and most of it consisted of giving hugs to people who were desperate for a hug from an parental figure, something that they'd been denied since they came out. By the end I'd be awash in tears. Heck, I'm getting teary just remembering.
posted by Runes at 3:12 PM on March 15 [16 favorites]


I’m also not on Facebook but I am in the SF/Bay Area and I’d also be happy to be a Dad for a thing.

This is a fantastic idea and it makes me sad it’s needed.
posted by caphector at 3:42 PM on March 15 [10 favorites]


Amazing initiative. Despite the progress made in recent years, it is sad that for so many people, familial love remains conditional.
posted by senor biggles at 4:58 PM on March 15 [3 favorites]


Love === love
posted by kirkaracha at 5:01 PM on March 15 [5 favorites]


As soon as that app runs, I'm in. (I do not do Facebook.)
posted by humbug at 5:53 PM on March 15 [7 favorites]


Goddamn, who would decline a request like that?😀❤️
posted by wenestvedt at 6:21 PM on March 15 [2 favorites]


Thank you so very much, chococat. My eyes are watering over here. Also, I'm another not on Facebook person but available to be a Mom for a thing in the Buffalo area. In addition to my bio kids, I already have a few bonus kids and grandkids and understand the need for chosen family.
posted by Scout405 at 7:16 PM on March 15 [4 favorites]


Just joined the FB West group. So happy this exists, while simultaneously so sad and angry that it needs to exist. But mostly, happy it exists. Thank you for sharing!
posted by DingoMutt at 8:02 PM on March 15 [3 favorites]


I am the middle male child of 3, with an older, and a younger sister, I was raised by a single mother in the '60s. I came from a so-called "broken home".

But she taught me and my sisters that all human beings deserved respect. So the "odd" boy next door who liked makeup was just accepted as a friend of our family. It never occurred to any of us that we were breaking social norms. It just wasn't on our radar as a thing.

I never had a father figure in my life, growing up the only male in a family of 3 females. But my mother damn well made sure that there was a male figure to sign me up for Scouts, hockey, etc.

So having surrogates for ceremonies has a special place in my heart. It makes me cry that this is so needed, but it also makes me happy that it can be addressed.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 9:34 PM on March 15 [4 favorites]


Her dress is amazing - it’s a traditional dress and at the same time celebrates her tattoo and her body in a way that is just so so gorgeous. I am very happy for all the people involved, but also just wow what a dress and paired with the kilt on her wife, so glam and full of personality.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 9:36 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]


I have put in my request to join Stand In Pride West. I would be completely honored if someone wanted me to stand as a parent to them and beam in pride as they celebrate a life milestone.
posted by supermedusa at 11:12 AM on March 16 [2 favorites]


As a parent of two trans kids, I'm all about this!
posted by nofundy at 12:45 PM on March 16 [3 favorites]


Just joined! Thanks for this!
posted by freakazoid at 6:02 PM on March 16 [1 favorite]


Mod note: We are proud to have added this post to the sidebar and Best Of blog!
posted by Brandon Blatcher (staff) at 6:38 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


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