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photo Gay and Gray in New York City
By Nicholas Chesla, Cindi Creager, Julie Englander

"The later years are a time when you must come to some sense of peace and reconciliation of what you have lived. And if you cannot be yourself, if you continue to hide what is the essence of yourself, you can never go in peace, and you can never give back the wisdom that you've learned through the years of struggle."

Stonewall was more than thirty years ago. Today, the veterans of the event that for many marks the beginning of the gay rights movement are growing old. One estimate suggests that there are around 45,000 gay and lesbian seniors in New York City alone. They share all the usual problems of aging: retirement from work, the decline of physical health, grief over the loss of friends and loved ones, but they are more likely than "straight" seniors to be living alone, and to be without family or other supports. They are also growing old in a subculture which places a powerful emphasis on youth: "Young gays don't think about aging," one says. "Maybe they think you go straight."

This engaging video features interviews with several "gay and gray" men and women, as well as profiling two organizations which work to provide services and support to elders in the gay community.

Part of a generation that faced extremes of bigotry and hatred when younger, these men and women grew up, for the most part, without role models. Today they are thinking about what kinds of role models they will be. "Nothing would please me more than to inspire young gay men and women to be themselves, whatever that happens to be," says one of the subjects of this moving video. "That's a legacy I would like to leave."

22 minutes
© 1999
Purchase $199 DVD
Order No. QA-306
ISBN (DVD) 1-57295-704-2

Reviews
"Highly recommended for age sixteen through adult, and particularly relevant for the study of aging, gay and lesbian history, social work and mental health." MC Journal

"Thoughtful and well-researched. Takes us into the individual lives, and into the activist networks ensuring that those who created the histories that sustain us are nutured in their last years." Windy City Times, Chicago

"Gay and Gray offers a glimpse into the diversity of experiences of old gay men and lesbians. Suitable for professionals and students of gerontology who wish to understand this invisible and neglected population." The Gerontologist

Awards & Conference Screenings
Best Student Film, Silver Images Film Festival
New York Lesbian & Gay Film Festival
San Francisco Intl. Lesbian & Gay Film Festival
American Society on Aging
Gerontological Society of America

Related Films
The Personals: This Academy-Award winning video follows a drama group for senior citizens, as they create and perform a play about looking for dates through the personal ads.

Sage: Celebrates the wisdom, experience, and creativity of our society's elders through portraits of a diverse group of active, engaged seniors pursuing their lifetime interests, and some new ones as well. Among those profiled is TV chef Julia Child.

Tonight's the Night: Three senior couples describe the evolution of their sexual relationships, while experts stress the importance of more accepting social attitudes about sexuality and aging.

As Time Goes By: It is a misconception that our needs for intimacy fade as we age. The seniors profiled in this documentary openly share their experiences with love, romance and growing older.

Other Families: The stories and honest reactions of seven adults, ages 18 to 40, who were raised by lesbian mothers.

Love Makes a Family: This video profiles several gay parents, in a variety of family situations, and also includes interviews with a psychologist and therapist who work with gay families.

Nuestra Salud: Lesbianas Latinas Rompiendo Barreras: A six-part Spanish-language series promoting preventive care and wellness for Latina lesbians. Individual programs deal with mental health, addiction, preventive care, breast self-examination, safer sex and STD's, and domestic violence. English subtitles.


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