The 90-year-old father-of-one emerges as gay in an emotional Facebook post
A 90-year-old man has come out gay in a viral Facebook post remembering his one true love after spending nearly eight decades in the closet.
Kenneth Felts, who lives outside of Denver, Colorado, has known he’s gay since he was 12, but he pretended to be straight all his life. It wasn’t until he started writing his memoirs to pass the time during the pandemic that memories of the man he loved when he was young came to mind.
After coming to his daughter Rebecca Mayes, he sent emails and posted On Facebook Bee the beginning of Pride Month, writing, “I’m free, I’m gay and I’m out.”
Out and Proud: Kenneth Felts, who lives outside of Denver, Colorado, publicly came out gay in a Facebook post in June during Price Month at the age of 90
Live a Lie: Felts, depicted on the USS Swallow in North Korea in 1951, has known he was gay since he was 12, but pretended to be straight all his life
Growing up in a religious Christian family, Felts had always felt that he had two dueling identities: Ken, the straight man he pretended to be, and Larry, the gay man he hid.
“The truth was buried deep in my soul for a long time, and I took on a straight character because I didn’t think I had any other choice,” he said.
“I would have dealt with all contempt for society, labeled as perverse or deviant. But people accept much more these days and I felt I should find the courage. ‘
Felts met his “ first and greatest love, ” Phillip, in California in the late 1950s, but decided to live life as a straight man.
He married a woman and had his daughter before divorcing. He worked as a counselor and supervisor for the Colorado Division of Rehabilitation for 30 years – all while hiding his truth.
However, he never forgot Phillip. Although he had not yet come out, he has searched for his lost love for decades since he and his wife broke up 40 years ago.
Honest: Felt told his daughter, Rebecca Mayes, in the photo, that he was gay in late May as he opened up about his one true love, Phillip. She had come to him as a lesbian twenty years earlier
Heartbreak: The dad revealed the regrets he has about leaving his first love, Phillip, in the photo for whom he fell in the 1950s. After coming out, he learned that Phillip had died two years ago
Secret Pain: Before coming out, Felts had been searching for his lost love for decades since he and his wife divorced 40 years ago
“I called every Phillip in the California phone book,” he told the Washington Post.
Writing his great love in his autobiography led him to tell his daughter in late May that he regretted leaving Phillip all those years ago. It was the first time that he revealed that he was gay for his only child, who came out as a lesbian twenty years earlier.
48-year-old Mayes told The Post that her father was “ not happy ” when she first came out, but afterwards she realized that he was only trying to protect her from the rejection and abuse he’d feared all his life.
Felts eventually came to accept the sexuality of his only child, and they have bonded over the years.
The father said his daughter’s opinion of him when he came out was the only one that mattered, but he was showered with positivity and support when he came to the world.
“I’ve had so much support and love,” he told The Post. “I didn’t realize how much this secret ruled my life until I finally came out.”
Live his life: Felts has vowed to embrace his sexuality for the rest of his life in honor of Phillip
Community Support: Felts has bought a rainbow-colored Pride flag and a rainbow-colored hoodie, which he wears most days. He also started organizing for LGBTQ + goals
Open: “I never realized how trapped I was until I made the decision to free myself. I can really say, “I’m free,” he wrote in his last Facebook post
After publicly sharing his story, he discovered that Phillip had died two years ago.
Phillip Allen Jones was the love of my life. Today I have a very sad and lonely heart. My first and greatest love has passed away, ‘Felts wrote in a heartbreaking Facebook post. “He lived a full and happy life, he is told by his niece. His many-year-old partner died just a few years ago, and Phillip remained alone for the rest of his life.
“I feel like I shared the best years of his childhood with him and he certainly made mine memorable and I will always remember and appreciate that. I’ve loved him so much over the years and now he’s gone, ”he continued.
“It is so terribly frustrating not to get so close to yet my lost love and terribly painful not being able to say goodbye. But the whole world now knows what a loving man he was to and for me while we were together. My heart has turned to stone and I need my tears to wash away my grief. Rest in comfort Phillip. ‘
Felts is now out and proud, committed to embracing his sexuality in Phillip’s memory. He has bought a rainbow pride flag and a rainbow hoodie, which he wears most days. He also started organizing for LGBTQ + goals.
“I have always been able to defend the gay community, but as an outsider, sympathetic,” he wrote in his last Facebook post.
“Now the real me can speak out in defense of MY community. I never realized how trapped I was until I made the decision to free myself. I can now really say, “I am free.” ‘