‘Oldest gay in the village’ becomes Brighton Pride ambassador
He’s been a regular face of the city’s annual Pride festival for years and now LGBT activist George Montague has been named as an ambassador for Brighton Pride.
Mr Montague, 90, drove his mobility scooter in the 2009 Pride parade with the banner: “I’m the oldest gay in the village.”
It was such a strong visual statement of the city’s cultural heritage that the website Buzzfeed recently included it in a gallery of the “20 Most Brighton Things to Ever Happen.”
Mr Montague first came to Brighton in the 1950s to explore the gay scene and ten years ago bought a home in the city.
He said: “Each year I enjoy Pride even more. We have come a long, long way since it was a criminal offence, which it was for 50 years of my life, but we still have some way to go.”
Mr Montague realised he was gay in his twenties – long before the decriminalisation of homosexuality.
Like many of his friends at the time Mr Montague married his wife, Vera, at the age of 37, and the couple had three children.
They were together for more than 20 years.
“I was always convinced my wife knew I was gay when she married me but it wasn’t discussed”, he said.
“She could have divorced me, she could have taken me to the cleaners but she didn’t.”
Mr Montague was convicted under Britain’s former anti-gay laws in his mid-40s.
In 1997 he met his partner Somchai Phukkhlai in London. They entered into a civil partnership in 2006 and will shortly be celebrating their 16th anniversary together.
Mr Montague is one of four Pride ambassadors and will be representing all older LGBT people at Brighton Pride on Saturday 3 August.
He spends half his time in Brighton and half in Thailand with Somchai.