A gay man who came out aged 90 has offered powerful words of advice to LGBT+ people who are still in the closet.
Kenneth Felts captured the hearts of queer people across the world in 2020 when he shared his story, proving that it’s never too late to come out.
Felts, who is from Colorado, knew he was gay when he was just 12 years old – but he pushed his feelings down and married a woman, not believing that living his truth was an option.
His coming out last year was ultimately a positive experience that allowed him to live his life openly and authentically.
Speaking directly to queer people who are still in the closet, Kenneth Felts told CBS New York: “You’ll be very surprised about the response.”
He continued: “The world is full of love, and you’re entitled to some of it, and people are going to give it to you if you take the chance, if you come out and say ‘here I am.'”
91-year-old gay man Kenneth Felts described the pain of life in the closet
Kenneth Felts went on to reflect on his marriage to a woman, which he admitted “was not a good one”. He spent the entire marriage trying to appear as straight as he possibly could.
“It was just constant alertness,” Felt said. “I was being very careful and dressing very conservatively all the time because I never wanted people to know that I was gay. I didn’t want to be outed because I could lose custody of my daughter.”
It was ultimately a cancer diagnosis that spurred Felts on to start writing his memoirs, which helped Phillip swim back into focus.
He was Felts’ first love, and the pair had a vibrant, loving relationship before he left to marry a woman.
Tragically, he learned upon his coming out last year that Phillip had since died, meaning the men never got to reunite.
Despite the pain that came with that revelation, Kenneth Felts is still glad he came out when he did. Doing so has allowed him a greater freedom in his personal life.
“It was a huge experience of freedom. I wasn’t looking over my shoulder worried about who’s wondering if I’m gay or not,” he said.
Sadly, Felts decision to come out as gay during the coronavirus pandemic has meant that he can’t attend Pride marches and take a more active role in the LGBT+ community – however, he hasn’t let that stop him from celebrating his identity.
His Facebook page shows numerous images of him wearing a rainbow coloured hoodie, and he has raised funds for LGBT+ causes in the year since he came out.