To celebrate Valentine’s Day we sat down with our CEO, Stacey Stevenson, and their wife, Cheralyn Stevenson, to talk about their love story, from the early days of dating to becoming parents of twin boys and leaders on a national stage.
Let’s start at the beginning. How did you meet?
Cheralyn Stevenson: “We met on a Tuesday night in 2006 at the oldest lesbian bar in Texas! Stacey was on one side of the bar, and I was on the other side…That is until I overheard Stacey talking about MySpace and quickly jumped into the conversation about my favorite ‘then’ social media platform.”
Stacey Stevenson: “From there, we quickly became fast friends and spent the rest of the night barhopping. Two weeks later we were dating. What makes our story even more interesting, is neither of us had dated a Black woman before meeting each other. But almost 17 years later, and eight-year-old twin boys, there hasn’t been a day we haven’t spoken to each other since that night.”
“To truly love we must learn to mix various ingredients — care, affection, recognition, respect, commitment, and trust, as well as honest and open communication.”bell hooks
When did you know you were in love?
Stacey: “The night I fell in love with her was after a night at a bar. We were driving back to my house, and she mentioned she had a gospel CD that she was going to play. I rolled my eyes and said, ‘Ugh, okay.’ I did not want to hear gospel at 11 pm! Especially after a cocktail, and to be honest, I had lost the connection to the music of my childhood. When the song started, she started to sing, and I almost ran off the road. She sounded like Whitney Houston and Mahalia Jackson all at the same time. My eyes filled with tears, and I fell for her instantly. She not only reconnected me to the music of my childhood, but she also healed me in a way that night.”
Cheralyn: “I knew I was in love when Stacey unexpectedly lost her brother seven months after we met. I cared for Stacey and her family so deeply, and I couldn’t imagine anyone I wanted to be there for and never leave their side more than Stacey.”
“We choose love. Our love for our children. Our commitment to leaving them a better world. Our love for our country … our love for our fellow citizens … that’s what we choose.”Michelle Obama
How have you seen growth in each other from your relationship?
Stacey: “Over the almost 17 years together we have witnessed every iteration of each other. Even though there is an eight-year age gap (Stacey will be 48 in March and Cheralyn recently turned 40) we both had areas of our lives that required growth. I have seen Cheralyn grow from someone who was not quite sure of herself to a bold and confident mother, business leader, and wife. I saw her brilliance early on and named it early on.”
Cheralyn: “I have seen growth both personally and professionally in Stacey, and it has been an honor to have a front-row seat. Stacey is bold, unapologetic, brilliant, poised, confident, and passionate. All of those qualities were part of why I fell in love with Stacey so effortlessly, but seeing those traits amplified and turned to action with a loud megaphone the way they are today, makes me fall deeper in love every day.”
“I am grateful to have been loved, and to be loved now and to be able to love. Because love liberates.”Maya Angelou
What are your favorite qualities about each other?
Stacey: “She’s funny, but don’t tell her I said that. She’s loving, focuses on family first, caring, and opinionated. Sometimes she tells me what I need to hear, but I’m not ready to hear, but that’s a quality I have come to love and rely on. She’s taught me how to be loved and to love rather than retreat.”
Cheralyn: “I love that I can depend on Stacey for any and everything no matter how small or large it is. Having someone you can trust with your innermost thoughts, feelings, and fears is something I do not take for granted, and I am so grateful for in Stacey. Our love transcends any singular issue. Simply, I like this version of me when I’m with Stacey.”
“Love takes off the masks we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.”James Baldwin
What’s your love story? Share it with the hashtags #FamilyEqualityLove and #LoveFamilyFreedom.