SFC Stacey Jessee McCall and Genevieve Jessee McCall have been together for two years. Up until a few years ago, they both lived in Boston. Genevieve was there to attend graduate school at Boston University, and Stacey was working as a Station Commander in the Boston area. The very first acquaintance Genevieve made when she moved to Boston happened to be friends with Stacey. They both had heard quite a bit about each other through their good friend, but did not actually meet until Stacey had a permanent change of station (PCS) to California, only about a half an hour from Stacey’s hometown of Oakland, CA, where a mutual friend officially introduced them. Currently, Stacey and Genevieve live in Fredericksburg, Virginia, where Stacey is the Center Commander for the Fredericksburg and surrounding area’s recruiting stations.
They experienced their first PCS move together in July of this year, when they relocated from California to Virginia. Genevieve is an actor, playwright, and teacher. She said, “I am inspired by Stacey’s complete dedication to the other soldiers she works with and their well-being. I was drawn to her generous spirit, and devotion to community and family.”
With their first PCS, Genevieve and Stacey recognize that we are all operating in tough economic times. “I left my job in California as an afterschool Drama teacher to relocate to Virginia, because of Stacey’s PCS,” Genevieve told AMPA. “Stacey does not receive the same dependent benefits as her heterosexual counterparts, though they work side by side; even though we wed in a ceremony June 23, 2012, and have had a Domestic Partnership since March of 2012, I am not recognized as her wife.” Any spouse of a service member understands that they must make sacrifices for their country as well. Genevieve continues, “Being the spouse of a serviceperson is a unique lifestyle, often fraught with different stresses than a civilian family may face. We face those challenges without the recognition or support of the United States government. Wouldn’t it be nice to do something as simple as grocery shop on post without her?”
Because of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and out-dated Defense Department regulations, Stacey and Genevieve are worried not just about grocery shopping; they have bigger plans that will be greatly affected by this lack of recognition. Although they currently do not have children, they plan to start a family this year. “I will carry our first child,” Genevieve joyfully tells AMPA. However, “we are unclear on what that would mean given my lack of health coverage,” Genevieve shares. “We have decided that I will carry our first child, because I am squarely in my thirties, and a few years Stacey’s senior. This will pose obstacles without health coverage. And then, once our baby is born, will he or she be recognized as Stacey’s dependent? We live in Virginia, a state that does not allow second parent adoption. We are weighing our options, but why should we have these undue burdens?” Genevieve says that Stacey’s belief that things can and will change inspirers her.
Genevieve and Stacey couldn’t wait to meet other families like theirs. Genevieve tells AMPA, “I have never had the great opportunity to spend time with LGB military couples.” She recently attended an AMPA event, and found it comforting to be in company that completely relates to the unique challenges that same-sex partners face within the military community. She said, “It means we belong, and that’s HUGE. We are just like every other family. We want to love each other, serve our country, and be a recognized and honored part of the fabric of America.”
Together, they are committed to making this work, despite the challenges. “We believe there’s no obstacle our family will come up against that we can’t overcome,” Genevieve said. “We lean on each other. We make each other laugh. In my vows, I told Stacey that we would tackle everything as ‘battle buddies,’ and we do.”