The world has changed a lot in the last few decades, especially for the LGBTQ+ community — but it's important to remember that just because LGBTQ+ people were less visible and had less representation in the past doesn't mean that there weren't still thousands of people who hid a part of themselves from the world for centuries.
Now, a new exhibition in New York City called "Not Another Second" is a public celebration and acknowledgement of LGBTQ+ seniors who have suffered "lost years of not being their authentic selves fully and not being able to openly love who they choose."
"Not Another Second" celebrates the bravery of elderly LGBTQ+ people and shares their wisdom for younger generations. A collaboration between non-profit SAGE, Watermark Retirement Communities, and Brooklyn's senior community The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights, "Not Another Second" offers a glimpse into the private lives of 12 LGBTQ+ seniors, including a former politician, military veterans, a Stonewall participant, and Black Panther, according to a statement from a spokesperson for the campaign.
"Through 'Not Another Second,' we illustrate our commitment to diversity and inclusion of all individuals and groups, including the [LGBTQ+] community," said David Barnes, President and CEO of Watermark Retirement Communities, in a statement. "Our new cultural series and art gallery at The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights celebrates service, beauty, and the resilience of the human spirit. The 'Not Another Second' exhibition reminds us that we can't take our rights for granted and must continue working toward a more accepting future for everyone."
The exhibition shares the stories through a series of portraits created by nAscent Art and celebrates their decisions to live openly, accompanied by state-of-the-art Augmented Reality through Kaleida Studio, making it more interactive and immersive for audiences. Each portrait also includes the number of years each person lost while "living in the closet." "Not Another Second" acknowledges the hardships and contributions of over three million LGBTQ+ seniors.
"These stories come from the individuals who were a part of the generation that led the Stonewall uprising, founded political group ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), and helped end the US military policy commonly referred to as "don't ask, don't tell'," said Jennifer Wallace, co-founder of nAscent Art, in a statement.
"Not Another Second" opened in January at the The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights at 21 Clark Street in Brooklyn. Portraits are also displayed on the "Not Another Second" website and in a printed, hard-cover book. The exhibition invites young people to also submit questions and get advice from LGBTQ+ elders through its "Ask A Senior" program.
For more information and to experience the exhibition, visit the "Not Another Second" website.
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