Chris Bolan, the director of the 2020 Netflix documentary “A Secret Love” joined the WGN Morning News to discuss the film.
In the documentary, former baseball player Terry Donahue keeps her same-sex relationship with Pat Henschel a secret from her family for nearly 70 years.
“You have to remember that they grew up in a time — and they’re from a generation — where it was very dangerous to be out,” said Bolan. “They were born in the 1920s, their formative years in the 1940s. If you were gay or lesbian during that time, you were put in prison, your career was ruined, they’d print your name in the newspaper, people were committing suicide. It was a very, very different time than today.”
While the couple were able to keep their relationship secret from their biological family, they also had a “found family.”
“They were lucky that they did find a group of friends in Chicago that they could be with and have parties with, but again they had to be so careful.”
Bolan said he’s often asked how their families couldn’t have known about the relationship given how much time they spent together.
“The family did ask them point blank ‘are you gay?’ And they said ‘No, we’re not. We are good friends, it’s expensive to live in Chicago and we just live together.’”
“A Secret Love” was released on April 29, 2020 on Netflix.