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A relationship in transition

 

Ourselves is the story of Michael and Dane, a transgender couple. Both began the transition from female to male in May of 2015. Although having a partner to share a personal journey with can be beneficial, such dramatic change can have an equally heavy toll on a relationship. Mentally this process appears to be as challenging as it is rewarding. Not only are they changing, their relationship is also in transition.

 
 

Part One: us

2015- 2016

September 2015:

"If it wasn't for me, then this wouldn't have happened."

Michael and Dane live in a relatively small apartment in central Baltimore City. Both were uncomfortable in front of the camera, but began to open up as the project moved forward.

The couple begin recording video journals as a way to speak about their transition. The video journals are meant as a safe space to speak about anything, including each other. The camera is an older Nikon point-and-shoot taped in place in their spare bedroom. The tape keeps the camera in position, but is also covering the body of the camera to prevent erasing or previewing one another's videos. It's not fool-proof, it's a system of trust.

 

October- December 2015:

November marks six months of taking testosterone shots. A shot is administered to the upper leg muscle every two weeks. The leg that receives the shot is alternated, so each leg receives a testosterone injection once a month.

February 2016:

"We didn't really expect how to feel around this time. But, we did kind of agree that we didn't know where we were going to be... after a while. Like, we weren't really sure how we were going to feel." -Michael

After becoming increasingly independent in their processes and disagreeing on moving in the Spring, Michael and Dane end their relationship. At this time they still resided in the same apartment and interacted as close friends. They stopped speaking about their transition to each other. Michael had begun to sleep on the futon in the spare bedroom.

Dane and Michael (left and right respectively) have changed both physically and emotionally throughout transition. Often concerned that their transition isn't happening fast enough, notable changes are met with a sigh of relief.

Dane has top surgery, removing both of his breasts. Michael is supportive but there is a noticeable tension between the two of them.

Part Two: Myself

2017- Present