BROOKLYN HEIGHTS, Brooklyn — It’s an interactive art exhibit called Not Another Second about LGBTQ+ seniors, including several New Yorkers.
“I knew I was a lesbian at age 5,” Pat Martin said in an exhibit video. “But it wasn’t until I was 16 that I said ‘no more girl clothes.’ So that was when I really came out.”
Pat Martin and her wife Paulette, both 68, live in East Harlem.
They are two of the dozen seniors who tell their poignant stories of struggle and acceptance and detail the time lost in their battle to be accepted for who they are.
“I thought [if] I got married and had a child, I would be OK,” Paulette Thomas-Martin said in a video that is part of the exhibit. “I wouldn’t have to tell my mother that I liked girls. I’d be the norm.”
According to exhibit organizers, more than three million seniors identify as LGBTQ+.
This exhibit is at The Watermark in Brooklyn Heights, a senior community.
“Watermark community wanted to be the first national senior provider to promote inclusivity among the LGBTQ +,” Rocco Bertini, the executive director of The Watermark, told PIX11 News.
Watermark’s executive director showed PIX11 how this interactive exhibit works, allowing these 12 LGBTQ seniors to share their journey in their own words.
“I didn’t publicly announce I’m gay until I ran for Congress in 1996,” Paul Barby said in an exhibit video. “and then everybody knew. It made the news everywhere, even the New York Times.”
There is also a book that details their struggles.
PIX11 asked the executive director what he hoped people would learn from this exhibit.
“To learn to be compassionate, to learn to accept and respect others and for them to recognize how diverse a population we have in our society,” Bertini told PIX11 News.
The Not Another Second exhibit has now been extended through the end of January at The Watermark in Brooklyn Heights on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.