By David Perloff
Photos by Arlene Ibarra
A finalist in 2014's citywide Voice of Pride singing competition, Stacey Humphries is no stranger to the stage. And while she didn't win the $1,000 grand prize for best vocals last year, she'll soon be taking the main stage at Pride Music Festival, right after the big parade through Hillcrest .
Stacey's performance may not bring the crowd to its knees, but it will do so for the entertainer herself - instead of singing, she'll be dropping to one knee to ask for her girlfriend's hand in marriage... with thousands of rainbow-clad revelers watching. The girlfriend, Crystal Clark, thinks Stacey is calling her onstage to hold her hand while she sings. Before Stacey pops the question, let's review her pre-engagement (pre-asking, anyway) interview.
PacificSD: How did you meet Crystal?
STACEY: We met on Facebook through a mutual friend and started seeing each other out and about around town. The first time we hung out as friends, we did yoga. She thought she would never see me again after that; she thought I would never forgive her. That yoga class changed my life, and I pulled three muscles in places I decline to discuss further.
How long have you two been together?
STACEY: Ten months, but this is an old love with old roots. I have been with other partners for years, and this is just, simply... real.
How do you know she's the one for you?
STACEY: Crystal is absolutely stunning. She walks into the room, and eyes are drawn to her. We are friends. We laugh. We take walks and share about our day. We had an immediate connection; it was undeniable and exciting. I started to see how sweet and kind she is. She is driven and motivated and is a hard worker. She takes care of me in the most thoughtful ways. She always makes sure that I have what I need. And it doesn't matter if it is something little or big - she is there by my side, taking care of me.
She immediately jumped in and started taking care of my son as if he was her own. She takes the time to make him feel special. She makes sure he learns responsibility, being polite, using his manners. And when she makes him laugh and smile, it melts my heart. It is the sweetest sensation to see them play and interact and get closer as family.
I feel like we just fit perfectly. Everything is smooth, and our teamwork and partnership gets stuff done. She makes the crazy, hectic parts of life... easier. She motivates me and inspires me. I didn't daydream before Crystal. She discovered a part of me that I didn't know existed. I smile when I am with her. I smile in the dark when I am holding her. She makes me fulfilled and happy and we are in love - like right in the middle of it, spinning around in a tornado of good-good and mmm-hmmm. I just simply adore her, and her happiness and smile are a gift. Her love and trust are gifts. I just want to hear her laugh and steal kisses from her whenever I can.
How did you decide to propose during Pride?
STACEY: I decided to propose to her at the Pride Music Festival because of the amazing amount of support that we would automatically receive. The genuine, heartfelt reaction of the crowd will hopefully make her feel extra special and will certainly allow me to know I am surrounded by those that will simply feel happiness, seeing our proposal and knowing that it is from the place of love.
Does Crystal suspect anything?
STACEY: She told me the other day, "Babe, you are going to be famous... and hopefully rich." I really think she thinks that I am singing. I really hope she's shocked, but also not sad that I am not rich and famous.
How will you execute the proposal?
STACEY: I am going to have her on the side-stage so I can look over to sing to her. And then, when I go on stage, I'll say that I cannot sing a cover of someone's song but I can share the lyrics of my heart. Then I will walk over to her, take her hand and walk her out on stage. I will probably tease her a little bit, then hopefully be able to just focus in on her and tell her how beautiful she is inside and out and how I love her more and more each day and don't want to know what one single day would be like without her by my side. This may all be said during a river of tears pouring down my face, and I may be possibly whimpering like a wounded puppy. This may be a super ugly cry... real ugly.
How sure are you that she'll say yes?
STACEY: She better! Pretty sure. She is my love; I am her love. We are both excited for our future.
How will you celebrate the engagement tonight?
STACEY: I am sure we will enjoy the festival and celebrating with our loved ones. My idea is to get her home, just the two of us, a serious spooning session, some giggling and chatting about if she had any clue about the proposal, how she felt and how it feels to be engaged, finally. I am pretty sure she thinks I am taking forever.
What are your plans for the wedding?
STACEY: You are talking to the wrong woman. She will certainly be in charge of all that planning. I think that we want something simple, but our focus is being surrounded by the people we love. The dream is a honeymoon in Hawaii or somewhere tropical where we can just be and enjoy our new marriage. Whatever it is, as long as we are together, it will be just as it is supposed to be - perfect with my baby.
It's Raining, Men
Soaking in the pride in more ways than one
It doesn't rain on a parade in the middle of summer in San Diego, does it? Uh... yep. In fact, with all her thunder-and-lighting drama, Tropical Storm Dolores (great name for a drag queen) is transforming University Avenue into a rainbow river, and July into the wettest on record since 1902.
[Editor's note: Donald Trump will no doubt Tweet that the rain is God punishing America's Finest for same-sex marriage, but the real reason he's staying inside is he doesn't want to get his "hair" wet and have to dry clean it again.]
Despite the torrents, the show must go on. After the more than 200 floats and contingents follow the procession from the Pride flag on Normal Street, down University to Sixth Avenue and into Balboa Park (in the name of love, equality and a rockin' good time), Stacey takes the stage at the Pride Music Festival.
She picks of the microphone as if she's going to sing, calls Crystal to join her, and them drops to one knee to propose. Crystal says "Yes!" and the crowd erupts.
After wiping raindrops from our lenses and tears from our eyes, the PacificSD crew finally leaves the betrothed alone to enjoy the rest of their day away from the camera. The next day, we call to see how things are going.
PacificSD: Well, first, congratulations! Please tell us about your fiancée and why she's the one for you.
CRYSTAL: She's the most incredible woman I have ever met. She is so loving, giving and has the most beautiful and amazing soul.
When did you know she was the one?
CRYSTAL: I don't know if there was a single moment that I fell for her. I think I am still falling for her every day. From the moment I met her, I knew that I was with a genuine soul. Her kindness and depth are remarkable. I can tell that she loves and appreciates all of me - the good and the bad, inside and out. I cherish every second with her and cannot wait to experience millions more.
How did the proposal go down?
CRYSTAL: Well, I thought Stacey was singing, so I was pretty nervous for her, especially with the rain. When she said she was going to bring me on stage, I assumed she was going to sing to me, but didn't know about the proposal... at all. I was laughing when I found out everyone had known but me. Even our 7-year-old knew. It was the sweetest thing, though. I love how special she made it and how amazing it all was.
What was the best part about getting engaged during Pride?
CRYSTAL: Our friends and family were able to be a part of it. I also think this kind of love is especially rare. I think sharing moments like this with other people might make them feel like they get to be a small part of it and gives others hope for a love like ours.
Have you set a wedding date yet?
CRYSTAL: Not yet. It will likely be pretty soon, though.
Do you have any wedding plans?
CRYSTAL: I'm trying on dresses today.
Here Come the Brides
Multiple wives under one roof ... and we're not even in Utah
Some say marriage is a word. Others insist it's a sentence. Either way, it's now a legal right to have and to hold whomever you want. Beaming, Stacey reflects on the engagement and being ready to tie the knot.
PacificSD: How did the proposal go?
STACEY: Phew. That was extremely nerve-racking. I had no idea if someone would accidentally slip and say something, or if my shaking legs were going to be able to carry me up on the stage. I was beyond nervous. I think that when I finally got on stage, I felt a little relief but kept an eye on Crystal to watch her facial expressions. I had a perma-smile on my face that still hasn't let up. When I started talking directly to her, I could feel myself just fall into her. All that mattered was that I was looking into her eyes and speaking from my heart. When I stood her up and she put her arms around me, we were completely connected and I could feel her curiosity.
The minute I reached into my pocket the crowd roared and started clapping. That felt absolutely amazing, as if they were just waiting for that moment. It felt so good, I could hardly reset myself to get down on my knee and look into her eyes so I could ask her, "Will you marry me?"
The best part about all of it was the energy and the embrace we wrapped each other in after she said "One thousand percent."
I am so happy, I am so in love. She made my dream come true, and now I get to spend the rest of my life showing her how I feel about her and taking care of my one true love.
How do you feel now?
STACEY: I am so glad that, after all of these months, I no longer have any secrets. Keeping secrets is not my strong point when it comes to Crystal. It feels unnatural, and I just want to share everything with her. I am so proud to look at her and see the ring on her finger. I love showing it off to everyone and I love the look on her face and watching her light up when we get to share our news.
I cannot wait to marry this woman. We are filling up the pages of our lives with love, respect, laughter, fun and a connection that will never be taken for granted. I think about her floating down the aisle to me. I daydream about how that day will feel. My son has another loving parent; my family is my everything. This is what life is all about.
Has the new federal law legalizing same-sex marriage affected how you feel about your pending marriage?
STACEY: Before the Supreme Court ruling, I had already started planning to propose. I think the ruling is something to celebrate and just makes this more exciting. And the energy and love flowing right now is undeniable. We are so grateful for those that have fought for equal rights and marriage equality. We respect those that have come before us and we celebrate equality for all, and it makes us even more grateful for being able to be so open about our love. We just want to live each day together and be happy. Everyone deserves happiness.