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By William J. Kemble,
POSTED: 01/27/18

KINGSTON, N.Y. >> Kingston High School football players on Feb. 9 hope to kick off a season of change with “Locker Room Talk,” a memoir and story-telling program intended to challenge hypermasculine behavior and attitudes.

The program, which was developed by the non-profit TMI Project, is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the school auditorium, 403 Broadway.

“The TMI Project founded by Eva Tenuto, along with (film production company) Stockade Works ... approached the school district because they wanted to partner with us and work with our football team and with them about what it means to be a man,” district communications coordinator Kate Heidecker said.

“The football team is typically where you would find a lot of stereotypes of masculinity,” she said, “so they interviewed our students, also sat and did workshops with them, and the students were able to talk about all the different experiences they had in their life and what it means to be a man.”

According to a press release issued by organizers, the event will be a live performance of “Locker Room Talk,” previewing a full documentary that chronicles the players’ participation in the TMI Project.

“The goal of the Locker Room Talk collaboration ... is to inspire more men and boys to access their authentic selves and speak up in the face of violence against women,” they wrote.

Kingston High School participant Chapman Parker said the program helps students understand and communicate with one another.

“Being able to talk to each other about what we’re really going through has made us all closer,” he said. “It’s also helped to take a lot of stress away. I’ve learned that everyone is going through more than you know.”

The event comes in advance of additional workshops that will be open to all students later this academic year. In the press release, Tenuto stated the project is intended to provide male students with a “space to share” their stories at the same time the #MeToo campaign has taken hold for women to be empowered when discussing sexual abuse.

“Many of our students had never talked about their issues or experiences before,” she said. “By the end of the workshop, they all agreed (that), when given the opportunity to tell their stories, they felt relieved of stress and pressure. We must look to create spaces for boys and men to express themselves.”

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