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Not Another Second: LGBT+ seniors share their stories Not Another Second: LGBT+ seniors share their stories

Mark Gustafson, 74 40 Years Lost

A former bed-and-breakfast owner from Jacksonville, Florida, Mark masked his true self until he came face-to-face with his sexuality at age 40. Married (for a second time) with a daughter at the time, he had a one-night stand with a man he met at a gay bar. His confession to his wife the next day turned his once traditional lifestyle upside down. Although he has never had an intimate gay relationship since, he has never lost hope. Mark’s outgoing personality has kept him moving forward, and he remains dedicated to living his senior years as his genuine, unapologetic self. Mark now devotes time to advocating for the LGBT+ community and helping those who are experiencing hardships similar to those he went through.

I was trying so hard to be straight. As I say, that’s why I’d been married twice … I don’t have any regrets, other than the fact that I did hurt my wife and daughter so terribly much.

— Mark

Mark with subtle smile, wearing newsboy cap.

The best thing about finally coming out of the closet was being honest with myself, with the world.

— Mark

One night with a gorgeous fellow changed my life forever. The next morning, [I] told my wife I had fallen in love with a man.

— Mark