Everyone has a story. What’s yours?
Personal stories are the most powerful tool we have to erase fear, give hope, and unite people. Our stories have the power to change hearts, minds, and lives. I know this to be true because stories have changed my own life in ways I would have never imagined.
We founded The Personal Stories Project in 2013 with the hope that the power of people’s personal struggles and triumphs will open hearts and minds. We are a social media based organization that promotes activism, advocacy and support for the LGBT community and our allies through the sharing of personal stories.
We provide a forum where people can share their personal stories and connect with others who may have found themselves in similar circumstances or find themselves touched in some way by a particular story.
By providing a compelling visual preview that leads to a concise and emotionally connected story, our overall goal is to engage people and change hearts and minds towards advocacy and activism as well as connect our story readers to charities that are meaningful to those that have had the courage to share their own personal stories.
We do have open video shoots in the Los Angeles area several times annually, but if you wish to record and submit your own video that’s fine as well. If you are interested in sharing your story in video format below is a very rough template to work from
If you are recording professional video we generally we find that 30 – 40 minutes of video needs to be recorded in order to edit it down to about 5 to 10 minutes of running time. All you need to do is record raw footage, send it to us, and we will edit it for you.
If you prefer to submit a written story you can follow a similar format. They shouldn’t be too long, around 1,200 – 1,500 words, as folks tend to lose interest in stories that go on for too long.
“Michael’s Story” is an excellent example to follow.
Michael is a young man from Denver, Colorado whose parents kicked him out of his home at fourteen for being gay, leaving him homeless and alone. Michael’s story is an amazing display of courage in the face of adversity, and in his own words, he hopes that by sharing his own story he’ll encourage others to share theirs.
So, what’s your story?
This is your story, so be the person you’re most qualified to be – yourself!
The best place to begin as at the beginning. I always like to break my own story into three sections: what it was like, what happened, and what it’s like now.
In our sample video, Michael starts off with “I was 14 when my parents found out I was gay.” Then he proceeds to give the details of how that set his journey into motion. How he felt at the time, what emotions he was feeling, and what motivated him to succeed in life.
When did you first realize you were (fill in the blank___________________)?
What happened next?
Were there family pressures? How did you manage those?
How about school/work pressures and with other friends how did they react? Talk about the positive and negative.
How did you build your support network? Note: this can apply to pretty much any scenario. Each of us has had to “come out.” I’ve had to do it several times. First as a gay man, then as an activist, etc.
Many people in the LGBTQ and Allies community are disowned and alienated by their families and friends, leading to depression, drugs, bullying, and suicidal feelings. Have you ever experienced any of these? What did you do to overcome them?
How have people who knew you before you came out (as whatever you are now – LGBT or ally) reacted when they run into you?
What’s life like now?
What has been your proudest moment along your journey?
How do you think your story can help others who are going through a similar journey?
“As a part of the Personal Stories Project I’d like people to know that (fill in the blank_________________)”
(As Michael said, we’re all human, whether we’re gay, straight, whatever we are, we all love the same)
What’s your hope for telling your story in this forum?
Ex: “to inspire others to tell their story, to show them that you can be successful no matter what struggles you face in life”
Call to Action:
At the end of each story we share, we always have a call to action, e.g., in the case of Michael’s video there’s a call for donations to GLSEN, as part of Michael’s path included helping set up a Gay/Straight Alliance at his former high school.
Think of which organization you’d like your story to help drives donations towards.
Most of all, thank you for your time and for your willingness to share your story.
Let me know if you need any additional information.
Best Regards, Charles
Charles Chan Massey, Executive Director