The Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA) and Men’s Story Project partnered from June-September 2020 to create the Texas Men’s Story Project: Telling our Truths production. Presented via four live, online events with attendees from across Texas and beyond, this was the first MSP production to take place online!
TAASA funded and co-led this work because they believe in the importance of engaging men in anti-violence efforts and promoting diverse, healthy notions of masculinity as part of their statewide sexual violence prevention programming.
The presenters in this production are from across Texas, range in age from their 20’s to 70’s, and are of diverse backgrounds and walks of life. Some are local artists and activists; others had never spoken publicly before. They shared their powerful stories via mediums including monologues, poetry, and original music.
The stories address their experiences with romantic relationships, fatherhood, sexuality, LGBTQ+ issues, race/ethnicity, intimate partner violence, childhood sexual abuse, mental health, body image, friendship between men, grief and loss, athletics and the military, allyship, journeys of personal healing and change, and more.
To prepare for the live events, the presenters participated in six weekly group workshops to build community, learn together, support and productively challenge each other, and develop their stories.
**Thank you** to each of the amazing presenters and staff team members who put their hearts and effort into this project, and made it a deeply meaningful experience!
We hope you will view, comment on and share the stories, and they can also be used to spark dialogue in educational settings.
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Presenters: Ryan Black, Brandon Childers, Michael Guinn, Rocky Lane, Theo Love, Richard Orton, A.J. Seidner, Jeddy Yuan, Mocha, Pedro, Bradford Walton
Staff team: Emiliano Diaz de Leon, Josie Lehrer, Brooke Axtell, Joshua Gonzalez, Will McInerney
“Totally remarkable. I am in awe of the individuals who presented. Truly. [I gained] a feeling of community. A feeling of togetherness. Hope.”
“Life-changing… [I gained] a sense of connection. These stories save lives, empower others and transform us.”
“[It’s] important to talk, and crucial to have safe spaces such as this.”
“It is so transformative, so healing, and fills me with so much hope to see the men and masculine people in this group doing such healing and important work / having these conversations and sharing these stories so bravely. Y’all are amazing. I would watch a project like this every week! Please keep it going!”
‘Learned on many levels how our stereotypical assumptions can be so misleading. These truthful conversations are so valuable to connect us with compassion as one human family.”
“The presentations were deeply moving. BRAVO!!!!! [I gained] a sense of optimism – toxic masculinities can be unlearned; new, healthy traditions can be built. I think each of the courageous men…helped, with their work, to make the world a kinder, more beautiful and more compassionate place…I hope these productions happen often and in many places – including high schools and colleges around the country. This work is so much needed – especially at this critical time in U.S. history.”
“It was way more than I expected. I already thought that it would be powerful, but it was so much more than that. All of the speakers were truly incredible. [I gained] a whole new understanding of men and the complexity and beauty of healthy masculinity.”
“Do it more often. Like every other month. Please.”
“It was such a beautiful outpouring of emotion, and am grateful to have been able to participate. Tonight affirmed my feelings regarding my own gender identity.”
“Wow. I was deeply moved beyond all things. I learned that men are complex and deeply loving when given the opportunity. The open conversation felt deeply healing.”
“I admired the candor of the presenters and professionalism of the production. I learned that more men are willing to talk about emotions and identity than I thought. Actually more of them are craving the opportunity. This is important.”