Captivating Couples 2011

Michelle & Dusti

Portland, OR

Michelle, 27, social worker/musician

Dusti, 30, social worker/musician

As adolescents, both Dusti and Michelle struggled with their sexual identities. Michelle also battled anorexia and self-mutilation, and sought to define her sexuality as a member of the Mormon Church. Dusti fought addiction to alcohol, which she used to numb the pain from a difficult family life. The two women, now more than five years healthy and sober, use their many talents to help others. Michelle works with young girls in treatment centers and high schools, and Dusti promotes a positive view of sobriety through her music. Although they work in the same office as social workers for adults with developmental disabilities, and play together in the pop-punk band Kiss Kill, the inspiring pair never tire of each other and consider themselves “soul mates in every sense of the word—we’ve come from the very depths of sadness only to find love and happiness overflowing every corner of our hearts.” They credit the joy of their five-year relationship to “compatibility, honesty, and communication” as well as “pajama pants, laughter, junk food, tattoos, adorable animal YouTube videos, and X-Files marathons.”