Stories for Choice 2023

On January 22, 2023 (what would have been the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade), 11 storytellers travelled to Kingston, NY from Mexico, Cameroon, and across the US to lend their voices to the fight for bodily autonomy in Stories for Choice: A Night of True Storytelling for Reproductive Justice.

Each storyteller was selected from an international call to participate in a TMI Project true storytelling workshop, where they developed their stories with the support of workshop leaders Dara Lurie, Perla Ayora, Raine Grayson, and Hayley Downs. Over the course of the 10-week workshop, storytellers crafted, shared, and edited their stories for the stage, before performing them for a public audience at the Stories for Choice performance, documented by TMI Project Media Partner Radio Kingston.


Antonia Marrero

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

“I am a brown Latina woman and part of the LGBTQIA+ community. I am also a Gynecological Teaching Associate and use my body as a tool for educating Medical Students. Our voices are being silenced and I am mad as hell. Stories for Choice is a platform to change that.”

Ashly Lorenzana

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

“My mother was 14 when she had me. Both of my parents were addicted to drugs. I know that no child deserves a mother who doesn’t want them. I‘m a sex worker, and I’ve had multiple abortions. Stories like mine go unheard, and I’m sharing it because our rights and freedoms are under attack.”

Charlene Modeste

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

“I’ve lived with uterine fibroids for over 20 years. I’ve been infantilized and conditioned to ignore my instincts and intuition. Our stories are the connective tissue that unite and hold our communities together and I want to share mine to embolden audiences and honor the desires of their hearts with gusto.”

Erin Dudley

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

“I had two abortions, six miscarriages, and an ectopic pregnancy before I arrived at the middle-aged mom-hood I now experience and enjoy. We need to share who we are, without shame, and demand policies that allow all people access to the healthcare they need.”

Frida Vidrio Mendoza

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

“In Mexico, women and girls begin our sexual life without having access to information, contraceptives, and reproductive healthcare services. It doesn’t have to be like this. Join us in this crucial space for much-needed dialogue.”

KT Kennedy

Pronouns: They/Them

“My great-grandmother Alberta Butler passed in a ‘backyard’ procedure in the 1930s. I want to tell my story as a Black queer non-binary person who’s had two abortions, while also honoring my ancestors.”

Maura Alia Badji

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

“In 1988, I was an unmarried full-time college student with a part-time job at a video rental store. I made the right choice for me and had an abortion. We can’t let the juggernaut of rightwing politics silence us. I’m sharing my story to make sure that every person can make the right choice for themselves, whatever it may be.”

Nakinti Besumbu Nofuru

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

“I live in Cameroon, Central Africa where abortion is illegal. The horrible experience I went through at the hands of a quack abortion “specialist” nearly cost me my life. I’m traveling all the way to New York to share honestly about my experience because I haven’t talked about it much. People need to know what is happening around the world.”

Shannon Flynn

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

“I grew up in an atmosphere of sexual predation and substance abuse. I want audiences to know there are conditions beyond our control that lead to unwanted pregnancy. Join us to hear our stories – it’s a way to find courage, validation, and solidarity in the cause.”

Sofia Jaimes

Pronouns: Ella

“My belly has harbored life. It has also harbored death. I went into a depression when I miscarried and was ecstatic when I got pregnant with my twins. We must fight the corrosive harm silence causes our communities and honor the diversity of our experiences. Our stories show the transcendent power of honesty.”

Victoria Leigh

Pronouns: She/Her (They)

“I’m a domestic violence victim advocate. I’ve written abortion referrals for clients whose abusers have gotten them pregnant as a form of control. Violence during pregnancy increases. Abortion services help victims stay safe.”

Workshop Leaders:

Perla Ayora

Pronouns: She/Her

“We immigrants have stories that have been quiet for a long time and now there is finally a safe space where they can be heard. An immigrant has a lot to say about discrimination and culture but also about values, family, learning and justice. Writing your story brings you closer to freedom.”

Perla is a stand-up comedian who enjoys writing songs, poems, essays, and… jokes. Her creativity and love of expression helps to elevate the many diverse voices of Radio Kingston by broadcasting their shows live from various locations throughout Kingston. She is a radio host and the co-producer of “Tokens Inc”. A dark comedy web series about tokenism. Originally from Yucatan, Mexico, Perla was drawn to Kingston for its lively art, music, and comedy scene – but loves that she can also chill at a BBQ or a taquiza with her neighbors.

Hayley Downs

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

“When I first heard the words ‘TMI Project’ I thought, ‘What is that? I want to do that!’ I knew that any group that valued ‘too much information’ enough to make it a ‘project’ of it were people that I had to know.”

In addition to leading TMI Project workshops, Hayley is a writer, podcast producer, and documentary filmmaker. She produced, edited, and co-wrote seasons one and two of the TMI Project Podcast. She produced the documentary film, Hidden Battles, which was directed by Victoria Mills, about the psychological effects of killing on soldiers. She also produced and broadcast edited Naturally Obsessed: the Making of a Scientist, a film about laboratory research by Richard and Carole Rifkind. Her angst-filled teen journal was included in Mortified: Real Words, Real People, Real Pathetic, published by Simon Spotlight Entertainment. Naturally Obsessed premiered on WNYC/Thirteen and is distributed by PBS International. Her installations and experimental films: Move, Coleslaw Wrestling and Boar Hog, exploring multi-generational Florida folk culture, have shown at underground film festivals including NY, Chicago and SF, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Miami and Art Basel. She lives in Kingston, New York with her husband and a small brood of furless beasts.

Raine Grayson

Pronouns: He/Him/His

“TMI Project does the exact kind of work that the world needs. From the moment I learned about them I wanted to contribute to the way they spread outstanding courage, community, and kindness. TMI Project makes the world a more honest, open place and I am honored to be given the chance to help foster and facilitate their mission.”

Raine Grayson is a multi-genre writer whose work focuses on exploring and uplifting the LGBTQIA+ community. He specializes in social action theatre and also dabbles in academic essays and creative non-fiction. He founded “Queeries Blog” – a space for queer artists to publish their work freely. He’s worked with The TMI Project before in conjunction with the Trevor Project for “Life Lines: Queer Stories Of Survival”. He’s spoken his suicide survival story on nationally streaming platforms for Trevor Live in support of their suicide prevention chat line. His nonfiction work can be found featured at Queeries Blog, Go Magazine, The Paragon Press, Weasel Press, and soon So Say We All’s magazine “The Whole Alphabet”. His playwriting has been featured by The Playwriting Collective, The Tank, NY Madness, KIT Theatre, The Rosendale Theatre, and Virtual Theatre Collaboration. He is a recipient of the SUNY Thayer Fellowship and Patricia Kerr Ross Award for his playwriting, as well as being recognized as a runner-up for the The Playwriting Collective’s Ball Grant. If you’d like to queer up your timeline, find him on social media @rainerpism.

Dara Lurie

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

“I jumped at the opportunity to participate as a storyteller in TMI Project’s first workshop and performance of #BlackStoriesMatter in early 2017 and, later that year, as a TMI Project teacher-trainee. I can’t think of more important work than helping people tell their true stories. If you think it’s simple, you should try it sometime.”

In addition to leading TMI Project workshops, Dara is an author and manuscript coach. She received a B.A. in Film & Theater from Vassar College and M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Hunter College. Dara grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and migrated in the early 1980s to West Berlin, Germany, where she tended bar, wrote and performed in the theater while living in different communities of squatters, Green Party activists, journalists, teachers, and social workers. Her first book, Great Space of Desire; Writing for Personal Evolution, is a memoir and creative guide for writers wishing to tell their own stories.


Read Stories for Choice

You don’t have a father because you never existed. That is, you existed, but only as a fear. My parents missed the boat with the birds and bees. Did they think...
It’s June 2018, and I’m on a quest for sterilization. Information about sterilization is like sacred text. I need to be prepared to fight, insist, again and again, about why...
You can bury doubt pretty deep. But at age 57, when I buy a $90 DNA test kit, I begin to unravel the truth about my own birth. A truth...
Stories for Choice is personal. It’s political. It’s for the people of Texas, and for the future of our entire nation. It is also my attempt at healing a lineage...
By Mourka (she/her) I was 19-years-old in the fall of 1966 when my friend Barbara and I drove my two-tone 1956 Chevrolet to Baltimore, Maryland, where I was to have...
BY BETTY MACDONALD (she/her) As an 18-year-old girl in the early fifties, I possess very little knowledge of my body or reproduction. It will be twenty years before The Supreme...

Watch the Stories for Choice performance from 2022!

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