If the trailer is any indication, A Secret Love promises to be an absolute tearjerker, but an uplifting one – which is exactly the kind of content we all need in these times.
The documentary revolves around the relationship between two elderly women, Pat Henschel and Terry Donahue, who came out as lesbians in their eighties, and is directed by Terry's great-nephew, Chris Bolan, who has long been fascinated by his aunts.
Terry and Pat met when Terry was was 22 and Pat was 18, then lived together as "roommates" and "cousins" for nearly their entire lives. Terry was actually a professional baseball player, for the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, the organization that inspired 1992's A League of Their Own. But where are the subjects of A Secret Love today?
Keep reading to learn more about where Terry and Pat are now.
Who are Terry Donahue and Pat Henschel?
When they met in 1947, Terry was spending her baseball off-season in Canada. For her part, Pat, who was 18 at the time, had already dated a few men, several of whom had died under tragic circumstances, before she met Terry.
Throughout the 40s and 50s, Pat would travel with Terry's baseball team and watch her play. Back then, the AAGPBL "sent its players to charm school and required them to wear skirts to games as part of an effort to counter a perception that they were gay," TIME reports. When they were apart, they spoke often. "I was a long-distance operator," Pat says during an emotional conversation in the documentary. "I could always find you."
Eventually, they moved to Chicago to live together under the guise of saving money as roommates. But if they'd been discovered to be lesbians, Forbes writes, "they could have been arrested, had their names printed in the newspaper and lost their jobs."
Police at the time had been known to raid bars thought to be lesbian meeting spots, and arrest anyone "not wearing at least three items of women's clothing," the source continues.
Considering the dearth of bars that cater specifically to women who love women in 2020, it sounds like there might have actually been many more sapphic spaces back then.
Where are Terry and Pat today?
A Secret Love was filmed between 2013 and 2018, just four years after Pat and Terry came out to their families. As soon as they did, Chris knew he wanted to make a film about their lives. The women became "giddy schoolgirls" eager to share "seven decades' worth of stories," Chris tells TIME.
Both the decision to live publicly as lesbians and to tell their stories for Netflix came at the perfect time, because Terry died at the age of 93 in 2019, having battled Parkinson's disease toward the end of her life. "She didn't want to go to the grave feeling like she'd lived a lie," Chris continued to the outlet, saying that she died peacefully and "unburdened."
Pat, now 91, lives in Saskatchewan, Canada, where the couple had moved in 2017 to be closer to family. These days, she spends her days "going to casinos and movie theaters and playing bingo," Chris says of his great-aunt to the Chicago Tribune.
She also frequently sees Diana Bolan, Chris' mom, who features in the documentary. Stream all of A Secret Love on Netflix now.