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'Families are messy' talk on Sept. 17

September  10, 2012

Debbie and Steve Crecelius

Stevie and Debbie Crecelius will share their story in a talk titled “Families are messy” at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 17 in Wallenberg Hall in the Denkmann Memorial Building, 3520 7th Ave. The talk is free and open to the public.

Stevie, previously known as Steve, discovered five years ago during an emergency room ultrasound that she had been born intersex, or with a mix of anatomical sex traits. That emergency room visit substantiated feelings Stevie had experienced since childhood. As a result, Steve decided to transition to Stevie, and Debbie decided to remain in the marriage even though her spouse had changed gender.

In December 2011, Stevie and Debbie realized it was necessary to tell their children. They have since found acceptance from their six adult children and 10 grandchildren. In May 2012, Stevie began presenting as a female.

In their talk, the couple will discuss what it means to really love somebody, the “till death do us part” dilemma, why families struggle with personal relationships and what they believe defines “unconditional love.”

Along with the public talk, Stevie and Debbie will be on campus to meet with students and share their story in a classroom setting. They are guest speakers for the Learning Community course titled “Rethinking Normal: Beliefs and Values about Gender and Sexuality.”

Dr. Wendy Hilton-Morrow, associate professor of communication studies and one of the couple’s hosts on campus, said, “Part of the mission of Augustana is to help prepare students for the diverse and changing world in which we live. That diversity comes in all shapes and sizes, including people who challenge our cultural assumptions of what ‘normal’ is.

“Stevie and Debbie’s story defies traditional categories of gender and sexuality, and forces people to recognize the complexities that exist in our world,” said Dr. Hilton-Morrow.

The Crecelius’ visit to the Augustana campus is being sponsored by the Jaeke Family Life Endowment, the Institute for Leadership and Service and the Women’s and Gender Studies program.

Sam Schlouch
Senior Communication Director
(309) 794-7833