In a recent interview with The Denver Post, a 90 year old grandfather, Kenneth Felts, shared how he finally feels like the person he was always meant to be since coming out.
Felts had originally planned to keep his sexuality a secret, but while working on his autobiography, he remembered his one true love – a man called Phillip who he had known in the 1950’s – and a flood of emotion overcame him.
Felts has one daughter, Rebecca, (who is herself LGBT+) from a marriage that ended in divorce. Her father let slip to her how he had always regretted not having the bravery to love Phillip. Felts tried to track Phillip down over the years but has never found him.
“Coming out in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s was horrendous. That was part of the reason I didn’t ever consider coming out. There was no gay community, there really weren’t gay organisations or anything. People who came out came out on their own, without support. And I guess I didn’t have the courage to face society at that time, so I just went ahead and buried it.”
After speaking to his daughter, Felts found the courage to come out to friends and family through a Facebook post. He shared, “I’ve been in the closet all my life — deep in the closet, behind rows and rows of clothing. I’m way back there. Opening that door at the front, I had great trepidation as to what people would say. I was very concerned because I needed people and I couldn’t stand the thought of losing them just because I decided to finally be who I really was.”
Family and friends were instantly supportive with positive messages flooding in. Now Felts has embraced his new life, joining online group meetings for LGBT+ seniors, raising money for LGBT+ organisations and proudly wearing his rainbow hoodie.
His daughter shared, “He’s just so brave and he doesn’t even realise that he is, but it’s extraordinary.”
The 90 year old also offered some advice to those who might be in a similar situation as he; “Don’t underestimate your friends and family. You might be surprised at how they react if you were to decide to come out.
“Enjoy what you’ve got while you’ve got it, because you’ve only got it once.”
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