Today we’d like to introduce you to Stanley and Jackson Alvey.
Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
In 2019, we were mutual followers on Twitter. We both had been transitioning outside of the Mormon Church. We started chatting with each other over Instagram and decided to meet up at the LOVELOUD festival that summer. We met up, and we both knew we would be seeing a lot more of each other.
We continued dating each other, and when Jackson moved to Tucson, Arizona, we decided to continue our relationship long-distance. I traveled back and forth from Hanksville to Tucson, and before long, we were inseparable. We started our Instagram in February of 2020 with the goal of reaching other queer former Mormons and sharing our adventures together. We spent so much time documenting and taking photos with each other. We grew our first account to 15,000 followers before Instagram took our account down for “Impersonation.” We spent 4 months trying desperately to gain access back to that account, but eventually, it was deleted by Instagram permanently. After taking a short break to focus on our own health, we restarted with a new account and built our community back up.
We have documented our adventures through dating, marriage, moves between states, jobs, animals, friends, and vacations. Our platform continues to grow as we prioritize what is important to us in our lives. We focus on mental health and lifestyle, but Instagram is not a top priority to us. We enjoy the community we have created, and we enjoy to create content and work with amazing brands we love. Ultimately our goal is to help others feel loved as they are, feel joy in their own skin, and find hope in the future.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
There have been many struggles in our journey. Mainly they have to do with our personal lives. Relationships are hard; one partner sometimes has to be strong for the other and vice versa. As newlyweds with ample amounts of religious trauma and lots of questions about our futures, we have experienced many ups and downs.
We have experienced so much homophobia and hatred, but also so much love. Our journey has never been easy, but it has always been worth it!
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
We have been creating content together for about two years now. Although this isn’t our day job (Stanley is a Realtor and Entrepreneur who loves business development and interior design, and Jackson is a Brand Designer and Strategist with his business, Everlast Design Studio), we spend probably at least 10-15 hours per week planning out posts and doing hashtag research, doing photoshoots, emailing with brand representatives to arrange paid partnerships and engaging with the amazing community of 27k LGBTQIA+ people and allies that we’ve been blessed to be a part of.
It’s really strange to sit back and think about the fact that we are able to make friends and build community around just sharing a small part of our day-to-day life together on Instagram, but we are so grateful to live in a time where this is possible. We started our first page in the fall of 2019 because we wanted to be visible and try to show younger people that it was possible to be truly happy being gay. Growing up, we didn’t have a single role model that we could look up to. There was no one that could show us we’d be okay, and we really wanted to do our best to provide that for others.
Because of the support and love of our followers, we’ve been able to do some really cool things and partner with really amazing LGBTQ+ affirming organizations and non-profits that do life-saving work. This month, we launched a partnered Campaign with Bonfire using a t-shirt design that Jackson created, and all proceeds are going directly to the Trevor Project, a life-saving resource for LGBTQIA+ youth. (https://www.bonfire.com/come-as-you-are-sj/) In just a few weeks, we’ve raised almost $700 dollars and sold many shirts and sweatshirts. It’s very motivating to see families in Utah and Idaho where we are from sporting this message of inclusion and love, and we just want to keep doing cool projects like this whenever we can.
Are there any books, apps, podcasts, or blogs that help you do your best?
We definitely are firm believers that you do your best work when you prioritize your mental and emotional health — it can be so easy to put off self-care and let other things take priority, but when your battery starts to drain you create mediocre work and you can’t show up as well professionally or for our closest relationships. We absolutely love a meditation app we are trying out called Balance that has helped bring some calm to our morning routine. Another thing we’ve been doing each morning is reading a daily reflection from Melody Beattie’s book, “The Language of Letting Go,” which provides a daily reflection on anything from financial wellness to creating boundaries. Each day ends with an excellent affirmation for that day on the topic of choice. It’s our favorite purchase this year for sure!
Other resources we love are anything by Brene Brown, specifically her podcast, “Unlocking Us.” Aside from those wellness resources, we can’t get work done without something playing in the background, and we love Spotify’s library for podcasts and music!