Thursday, December 25, 2014

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As New Yorkers celebrate Pride Week 2013, NY1 News takes a look at the LGBT community's struggle for civil rights.

Pride Week 2013: New Doc Explores Issues In Elder LGBT Community

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NY1's celebration of Pride Week continues with a look at "Before You Know It," a new documentary on the elder LGBT community that has just had its New York premiere. NY1's Arts reporter Stephanie Simon filed the following report.

Director PJ Raval set out to make a film on the often isolated elder LGBT community. He reached out to Harlem activist Ty Martin to find subjects in New York City and got more than he expected.

"Ty was supposed to be the person who was supposed to connect me to different members in the community, but after meeting him and following him around for an hour I was like, 'Wow, he really is an amazing person and this is the New York Harlem story that I want to tell," Raval says. "And so we gradually started filming him and he became one of the characters in the film."

Ty is one of thee gay seniors featured in the documentary, "Before You Know It." Dennis from Florida has just started exploring cross dressing and Robert from Texas is dealing with the possibility of losing his bar, which is an important and historic gathering place for the LGBT community there.

Ty is an outreach manager for SAGE [Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders], an organization dedicated to helping older LGBT people.

"My main focus is to provide a safe place for our constituents, our seniors who are living in the Harlem community," Ty says.

While New York's legalization of gay marriage is prominently featured, Ty's story becomes less about the politics of gay marriage and more about same issues many heterosexual couples face. One person is ready to say "I do," but the other isn't so sure.

While viewers learn a lot about Ty in the film, Ty says he also learned a lot about himself.

"Everybody wants to marry somebody at some point in their lives and that whole idea, like, I want this also because it's available. Not because I need it but I want it, I want to do it," he says.

"Before You Know It" continues on the film festival circuit. The filmmaker expects to have additional screenings in the city scheduled soon.

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