The Stories

STARTER EPISODE

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Jor Gonsalves Shame of Gay Identity

Jor Gonsalves is an aspiring journalist. His hope as a journalist is to generate more empathy by bringing mainstream visibility to underrepresented communities. His passion for representation in the media originated from a personal desire to see more confident, gay Indian men in the movies and on TV. He believes that normalization occurs when we see more people with our identities in the media discussing their lives openly. Coming from a conservative background, Jordan had a difficult time accepting that he was gay and realized how the pervasive effects of shame drove so much of his life. Speaking openly about his unshaming experience and learning about the unshaming experiences of others has been joyful and healing for him.
 

 

Supports: Immigration Equality aids LGBTQ individuals fleeing persecution from homophobic countries

EPISODE TWENTY-TWO

Shaun T Shame of Sexual Abuse Survival

Shaun T is a world-renowned health and fitness motivator, entrepreneur, TV host and creator of the best-selling fitness programs INSANITY, HIP HOP ABS, T25, and TRANSFORM:20. His latest mega-hit, LET’S GET UP!, was Beachbody’s most successful launch in history, amassing over 1 million views in 30 days. A native of New Jersey,
Shaun T received a B.A. in Health and Exercise Science and a minor in Theater and Dance from Rowan University.  Through personal appearances, his workout programs, his podcast Trust and Believe with Shaun T, and his best-selling self-help memoir, T IS FOR TRANSFORMATION, Shaun T is focused on affecting positive lifestyle changes in people around the world and proving that becoming the best version of yourself is attainable. Shaun’s mission is to inspire people to realize their full potential by promoting positivity
through health, fitness, and motivation.

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EPISODE TWENTY-ONE

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Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor Shame of Stroke Survival

Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor is a Harvard trained and published neuroanatomist. In 1996 she experienced a severe hemorrhage in the left hemisphere of her brain causing her to lose the ability to walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of her life. Her memoir, My Stroke of Insight, documenting her experience with stroke and eight-year recovery, spent 63 weeks on the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list and is
still routinely the #1 book about stroke on Amazon. Dr. Taylor is a dynamic teacher and public speaker who loves educating all age groups, academic levels, as well as corporations about the beauty of our human brain and its ability to recover from trauma. In 2008 she gave the first TED talk that ever went viral on the internet, which now has well over 26 million views. Also in 2008, Dr. Taylor was chosen as one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” and was a guest on Oprah's Super Soul Conversations podcast.

EPISODE TWENTY

Sharon Frances and Matthew Rodriguez Shame of Cancer

Sharon Francis is the mastermind behind the the Little Green Monster Project, an original book and workshop focused on helping children impacted by Cancer to name their emotions. She is a breast cancer survivor, parent, educator and artist. In its first year, the project supported over 2,000 families with book donations and free creative arts workshops.  Their approach to exploring emotions through creativity is not only supported young people impacted by cancer but also those experiencing other traumas such as grief and loss.

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EPISODE NINETEEN

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Antonio Lombardi Shame of Male Body Image

Antonio is a 30 year old male who has spent much of his life trying to meet the unrealistic expectations and standards of socio-culturally induced Toxic Masculinity.  Having fallen prey to the Media Brainwashing of what it means to be a “Man” at a very young age, due to a number of early childhood traumas, I have decided to dedicate my entire being to end the mentally debilitating stigma and imposed self-consciousness that currently exists around Body Image. I am invested in helping others embrace radical self-acceptance through a gentle and effective process of self-exploration, emotional awareness and self-care and compassion. 

 

After living the first 29 years of my existence hidden in the shadows, I have made a promise to live my life as an open book; to break down the constrictive mental and emotional constructs of insecurity and inadequacy and work towards fully embracing myself for who I am, both physically and emotionally.  

 

I am a creative free spirit, who has unfortunately always felt confined by the gender-generalized boundaries of societal norms for my entire life. I am a lover and writer of poetry, an empathetically emotional super-feeler, a loving listener, and a completely Hopeless Romantic.

 

But above all else, I am a Son, a Brother, an Uncle, and a self-defined MAN.

EPISODE SIX

Alicia Gomez-Shah Shame of Being a Queer Athlete

Alisha Gomez-Shah graduated from Northwestern University in 2017 where they were a four-year student-athlete. As a queer person of color, Gomez-Shah saw a need to help other queer student-athletes who felt there wasn’t an outlet to discuss queer-specific experiences. As a result, they helped create programs and safe spaces for queer student-athletes to create support systems, explore identity, and learn about social justice. Gomez-Shah, with other student leaders and administrators, also helped create an official inclusion statement for the Northwestern Athletic Department. They continue to stay involved in the athletic community at Northwestern while also pursuing a Master's of Science in Higher Education Administration and Policy. Their hope is that higher education can lead the way into gender equality and equity by disrupting hiring patterns and providing proactive training to staff, faculty and students at all levels.

Supports: Trevor Project provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ+ youth under 25.

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EPISODE FIVE

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Sadasia Shame of Colorism

Sadasia describes herself as “bold, determined, and becoming.” Her mother, her pain, and her creativity are the foundational forces of her life. Growing up in an under-resourced community in the South Bronx, she was surrounded by a tribe who believed in her. By age 24, she founded her beauty brand and created roles for herself focused on inclusion and belonging at the world’s leading tech company. “To think this dark skin baby girl from the hood could somehow chart her own path, transforming thinking around inclusion is because of those who saw me and continue to see my value.” She believes in living shame free and paying it forward by holding the ladder up for others to climb. For more on her professional life and recent pivot into venture capital, connect with her on LinkedIn.

Supports: A Better Chance develops young people of color with resources and education to one day assume positions of responsibility and leadership in American society

EPISODE FOUR

Ivana Black Shame of Trans Identity

Ivana Black is a singer, actress, entertainer, and trans advocate based in New York. Born in Chicago, she grew up in a military family with homes across the globe. Her global perspective gave her the openness to explore her gender at a young age. It wasn’t until  seeing herself for the first time in women’s clothing at the age of 17, though, that she finally felt at home in her body. Her journey to survive as a trans woman of color has included unshaming the black market where she received hormonal treatment when healthcare providers refused and discriminated against trans people. She feels positive about the progress society has made in accepting trans people but simultaneously desires wider acceptance and more representation in the media.

 

Supports: Princess Janae Place affirms transgender identity by advocating for safe, adequate housing for LGBTQ+ people in New York.

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EPISODE THREE

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Erin Shame of Abortion

Discussing abortion openly has become a pivotal part of Erin's life. She currently works with Shout Your Abortion (SYA), a national platform working to speak out about abortion through art, community, and media events all over the US. She is truly grateful for the opportunity to hear the truths of others and to share her own. Before working with SYA she never discussed her abortions with anyone, but since joining, she has shared her story of having multiple abortions numerous times and has been honored by hearing the stories of others. When she's discussing abortion, she makes music in Seattle. Telling her own truth makes music better, too.

 

Supports: National Network of Abortion Funds removes financial and logistical barriers to abortion access by organizing at the intersections of racial, economic, and reproductive justice

EPISODE TWO

Haley Johnston Shame of Eating Disorder

Haley Johnston is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin. During her time there, she struggled with disordered eating and over-exercising which resulted in missing her period for two years. Upon graduating and beginning her career in 2018, she sought medical help and was diagnosed with Hypothalamic Amenorrhea (HA). With the help of Dr. Nicola Rinaldi, the author of No Period. Now What?, she has since recovered from HA and regained her period. Through this experience, Haley became passionate about raising awareness around women’s health and women’s issues. An advocate for gender equality, she hopes to one day own a company that empowers women globally. 

 

Supports: Days for Girls works toward creating a global culture where menstruation is no longer a source of shame and taboo.

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EPISODE ONE

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Jahlove Serrano Shame of HIV Status

Having contracted HIV just a few days shy of his 16th birthday, Jahlove Serrano decided to become a health educator and HIV/AIDS activist to combat the stigma and miseducation around the virus. Based in New York, his work to end and unshame HIV has spanned global, national, and city levels with organizations like NYC AIDS institute, National Gay Mens Advocacy Coalition, The Global Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS North America (GNP+NA), AIDS Alliances, the White House, and The US Department of Health. He's currently on the national campaign, "HIV Stops With Me” and the Johnson & Johnson’s “Positively Fearless” global campaign. Hailing from an afro-latino home in the Bronx, he is also a model, drag queen, and dancer who uses his entertainment platform to promote HIV/AIDS awareness and education.

 

Supports: Love Heals Center for Youth and Families trains youth in the art and skill of storytelling to center more stories around the sexual and reproductive justice framework