Metro Weekly

New exhibit a reminder of the struggles and strengths of LGBTQ seniors

Not Another Second provides unique insight into the lives of LGBTQ seniors

lgbtq seniors, elders, art, exhibition, portraits
Photo: Not Another Second

The new multi-media art exhibition Not Another Second provides a moving reminder that behind the rights and protections now enjoyed by the LGBTQ community was an often dark and difficult time that left many scars among today’s LGBTQ seniors.

“In those days, you know, we’re talking about a whole different era, when that was no acceptance of gay people. With my partner, we couldn’t get married. You couldn’t do much of anything,” recalls Dominic “Nick” Procaccino, an 87-year-old resident of Palm Desert, Calif.

Procaccino is one of 12 LGBTQ seniors featured in Not Another Second, representing a wide range of diverse backgrounds, professions and ethnicities. These include a former politician, military veterans, a Stonewall survivor, and a Black Panther, among others.

The exhibition gives a unique glimpse into the lives of each of the featured seniors through a series of compelling portraits and videos that traverse personal experiences of living during a time when being LGBTQ was a crime.

Shot by noted German photographer Karsten Thormaehlen, Not Another Second also celebrates their personal journeys towards living openly, as well as finding love and companionship. Each moving portrait is accompanied by the number of years lost living in the closet and not as their true, authentic self.

Paulette Thomas-Martin (L) and Pat Marin (R) – Phot0: Karsten Thormaehlen.

“It was very difficult. I thought if I got married and had a baby, I would be OK. Then I wouldn’t have to tell my mother that I like girls. I wouldn’t have to tell anyone that I like girls. I would be the norm,” shares Paulette Thomas-Martin, a 68 year old resident of East Harlem, New York, and one of the featured seniors. Paulette didn’t come out until her youngest child was 16 and she was 40.

A collaboration between LGBTQ elders advocacy nonprofit SAGE and the progressive Watermark Retirement Communities, Not Another Second is on virtual display at notanothersecond.com.

Free public and socially distanced viewings of the physical interactive exhibition are available by appointment at The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights in Brooklyn, New York, every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday now through March 2021.

Following its Brooklyn debut, the exhibition will tour the country throughout 2021, with stops in Élan Collection art galleries in California and Arizona.

Photo: Not Another Second

“Over the span of decades, LGBT+ elders have proven what it means to be resilient and live vibrant and full lives, even in the face of discrimination,” said Michael Adams, CEO of SAGE.

“Too often, the achievements of LGBT pioneers are pushed aside or hidden back in the closet as they get older,” Adams continued. “SAGE is proud to work with Watermark to make sure LGBT elder voices are brought out of the shadows and widely celebrated, by showcasing passionate activists who have been fighting since Stonewall, the significant impact they have had in our movement, and the spirit that inspires us to continue striving toward progress for all LGBT people.”

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Troy Petenbrink is Metro Weekly's contributing writer for food and travel. He can be reached at thegaytraveler@gmail.com.

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