Stories for Choice 2022
On Saturday, January 22, 2022 (the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade), TMI Project presented Stories for Choice: Radically True Storytelling for Reproductive Justice. The live virtual performance featured 10 storytellers from a national call who participated in a 10-week TMI Project true storytelling workshop. The culminating content is featured in this performance.
“I believe in a person’s freedom over their own mind and body. I joined Stories for Choice because it took me years not to feel guilty for deciding not to have children. Maybe there are others out there who can identify with my story and feel less of their own shame.”
“Stories that are uncomfortable to hear tend to go unspoken. I believe we should all be empowered to raise our voices and speak truthfully about the things we have endured, especially when they are not easy to swallow. I’m participating in Stories for Choice in the hopes that my story might inspire someone else to share their own.”
“I’m a mother, a teacher, and a writer, and my children are the center of my life. I want to tell my story about selective reduction because even an unlikely person (like me, a lesbian mom) needs access to abortion. Our stories are all so different, and yet they are all the same: we call the shots when it comes to our own bodies.”
“I decided to participate in Stories for Choice because I believe that the only way we can make any headway in the fight for reproductive justice is if we lay it all out on the table. When I share my story, I hope others may find a kernel of truth that resonates in their own story.”
“I have been a long-time activist for reproductive justice. As a teen who became pregnant prior to Roe v Wade, I was forced to carry my pregnancy to term and then relinquish the child. I decided to participate in Stories for Choice because I believe that stories, especially those involving stigmatized experiences such as abortion, can transform both the storyteller and the listener, acting as a powerful force for social change.”
Shernā Ann Phillips, PhD (“Dr. Nae” for short)
“Many people suffer from infertility and are not afforded the rights to have biological children due to disparities that include a lack of resources, finances, education, insurance, or underlying health concerns.In joining Stories for Choice, it is my hope that the audience will take away some knowledge about infertility, an aspect of reproductive justice that is often overlooked/untold, especially in the African American Community.”
“I joined the cast of Stories for Choice because I have a deep passion for storytelling. In a world where so many people are hiding their truths, I’m proud to be as outspoken and honest as I am. I hope that, by sharing my story, I can help connect people through our shared experiences.”
“I am joining the cast of Stories for Choice because I am queen of TMI, and I have a story to tell about choosing adoption over abortion. I hope that the audience will be moved by my story as well as be inspired to reflect on how the themes apply to their own lives.”
“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.”
“Nosotros los inmigrantes tenemos historias que han sido calladas por mucho tiempo y ahora por fin hay un espacio seguro donde pueden ser escuchadas. Un inmigrante tiene mucho que decir sobre discriminación y cultura pero también sobre valor, familia, aprendizaje y justicia. Escribir tu historia te acerca a la libertad.”
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.
“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.
“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.
“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.