90-year-old grandfather comes out as gay only to discover his long-lost love has passed away

90-year-old grandfather comes out as gay only to discover his long-lost love has passed away

LGBTQ+ people were not always afforded the same rights they have today, and while there is a long way to go in the fight for equality, more and more members of this community are finding the courage to come out.

But one man who has been in the closet for a lot longer than most is 90-year-old grandfather Kenneth Felts, from Colorado, who found the courage to embrace his true sexuality during lockdown.

Kenneth discusses what it was like to pretend to be straight for 90 years in the video below: 

In an interview with the 3rd Hour of Today show, the grandfather revealed that he began writing a memoir when the current pandemic began, but he knew that he couldn't complete it unless he came out.

Kenneth, a Navy veteran, said: "I had been keeping this secret most of my life, and I had planned to take it to the grave.

"In 1942, when I was 12, I realized I was gay. If you came out, it really would cost you - your family, your job, all of your relationships. You would immediately be called a pervert."

However, despite living a lie for so long, there was a time when Kenneth did embrace his true sexuality, and he had a two-year relationship with a man named Philip.

Kenneth posted this extract from his memoir about Philip to Facebook.

The pair broke up because of Kenneth's faith and he went onto marry, have a daughter, and divorce. His daughter Rebecca even came out to him in 1995, but even that wasn't enough to inspire Kenneth to come out at the time.

Then, one night, he finally opened up to his daughter about Philip, telling her that he regretted ever leaving him.

After Kenneth came out, he took to social media in the hope of being reunited with Philip. However, after an extensive search, it emerged that he had sadly passed away.

The 90-year-old subsequently took to Facebook to pay tribute to the man he described as "the love of my life".

He wrote: "Phillip Allen Jones was the love of my life. I have a very sad and lonely heart today. My first and greatest love has passed away.

"He lived a full and happy life I am told by his niece. His partner of many years passed just a few years ago and Phillip remained alone for the rest of his life.

"I feel I shared with him the best years of his youth and he certainly made mine memorable and I will always remember and appreciate that.

"I loved him in my heart so much over the years and now he is gone."

Adding: "It is so terribly frustrating to be so close to and yet not reach my lost love and horribly painful to not be able to say goodbye.

"But the whole world now knows what a loving man he was with me and to me while we were together."