photo by Cathy Holskin
From Motivational Speaking (Reshaping YOU), to running a non-for-profit organization (LGBT Equality Alliance) and publishing (OUTCOAST) these two are busy. Busy doing what? MAKING A CHANGE in the lives of people from our community.
Names: Rachel and Fay Stevenson
Nicknames: Neither of us have nicknames individually, but several of our friends call us FayRae as a couple.
Where do you live? We live in both Phoenixville, PA and Gulfport, FL
How do you identify? In regards to the LGBT community, Rachel identifies as pansexual or bisexual and Fay identifies as 100% Gold Star lesbian. We both use she/her pronouns.
What has been your biggest struggle? Fay has struggled with her relationships with her parents. Growing up in a devoutly Catholic family as a gay kid in the 60’s did not lend itself to parental support. Rachel has struggled with anxiety disorder since her preteen years and has struggled with maintaining a healthy weight since youth.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? As a couple, learning to support, respect, and love one another other unconditionally. Rachel’s greatest individual achievement is founding and growing an LGBT non-profit in the Philly suburbs. Fay’s greatest individual achievement is her 31-year sales career at Johnson & Johnson.
What would you say to someone considering coming out of the closet? We would encourage them to love themselves enough to live authentically, but remind them that coming out is a process and they need to be prepared for the ultimate response of the person they’re coming out to. It’s also a process that will separate those who love them unconditionally from those who don’t. It’s important to listen and understand outside perspectives, tactfully educate those who don’t know how to be an ally, have patience, and present opportunities for open discussion. But if friends and family fail to learn, listen, and open their minds, it’s important for that individual to surround themselves with their chosen family – those who will build them up, love them unconditionally, and support them through anything. After all, one should never give anyone the power to suck the positivity from one’s life. We’d also suggest that the individual seek counseling as needed, throughout the process.
What are your hobbies? We love to go for road trips, explore small towns, antique, and work on crossword puzzles together. Fay loves sports and staying up to date on all things politics. And Rachel loves photography, writing, and anything creative.
What color of the rainbow are you? Rachel is purple for passion. Fay Is blue, because she’s always been drawn to it.
What is your favorite TV show or movie? Rachel’s favorite movie is My Best Friend’s Wedding. She loves the Dionne Warwick dinner scene with the lobster claws! Her favorite TV show is whatever’s new on Netflix: Wentworth, Orange is the New Black, and more recently GLOW. Fay’s favorite move is The Shawshank Redemption and her favorite TV show is anything sports related, although she used to love the Ellen sitcom.
What do you do for work? Rachel works for herself and Fay is recently retired, although collaborates with Rachel on OUTCOAST.
Do you own a business? Rachel owns two businesses: OUTCOAST and Reshaping YOU. She also runs an LGBT non-profit in the suburbs of Pennsylvania, LGBT Equality Alliance.
What is your relationship status? Happily married for 3.5 years, but together for over 10!
What have you learned about yourself since you came out? Rachel has learned that living authentically is freeing and that she doesn’t need a label to feel loved and accepted. Fay now knows that she is stronger than she ever thought she was, that the only person’s opinion that matters is her own, and what anyone else thinks of her is of no consequence.
What are your pet peeves? Rachel can’t stand listening to people chew crunchy things. Fay doesn’t like it when people do not clean up after themselves
What is your favorite thing about you? Rachel’s is her passion” Fay is a great friend. She says, “If I weren’t me, I’d want to have me as a best friend.”
Who has been the most influential person in your life? Rachel has several. It’s a three-way tie between her mother, father, and wife. Fay’s most influential person is her Dad, as he was the reason she entered the pharmaceutical world. She achieved and exceeded because of him, as much as she hates to admit it.
What advice would you give to your LGBT family? We are stronger as a united front. Individuals should wake up every day with the thought, “how can I make things better for our community?”
What is your biggest strength? Rachel says it’s her determination, although some call it stubbornness. Fay’s strength is that she’s extremely task-oriented and disciplined.
What is your biggest weakness? Rachel’s weakness is her sugar addiction! She’s also working on her delegation skills, which has been a struggle for her Type-A personality. She’s used to running the show and doing it all on her own, but is learning that it often takes a team. Fay feels that she is often a human “do”ing rather than a human “be”ing.
Do you have pets? Yes. One cat named Maxx. We recently lost our other cat, Jammies.
What is your favorite book? Rachel: She’s Come Undone, Fay: any murder-mystery “whodunit”.
Do you have any phobias? Rachel: I fear anxiety… sounds silly, but true. Fay: snakes
Who was your first crush? Rachel: Brian Cole from elementary school. Fay: Carlene – the lifeguard at her community pool growing up.
What is your happiest memory? Our wedding day!
If you had 24 hrs to live, what would you do? Spend time with those we love, especially each other. And knowing that calories wouldn’t matter, Rachel would eat ice cream and chocolate all day long and Fay would eat pizza all three meals of that day.
photo by Ed Tenney