‘Oldest gay in the village’ weds partner ahead of Pride
As Brighton prepares to mark 25 years of Pride, one senior resident has had an extra special celebration.
He’s been a regular face of the city’s annual Pride festival for years – however, this year, LGBT activist George Montague has even more reason to celebrate.
Mr Montague, 92 – known by festival goers as “the oldest gay in the village” – recently converted his civil partnership with long-term partner Somchai Phukkhlai into a marriage at Brighton Town Hall.
Discussing his joy at the nuptials, the Pride Ambassador said: “I tell everybody I’m the luckiest, happiest old gay man alive.”
“Gay people had never had it so good,” he told the BBC.
Mr Montague made headlines back in 2009, when he drove his mobility scooter in the Pride parade with the banner: “I’m the oldest gay in the village.”
He has since been a regular fixture of the event, but it is not only the crowds he is popular with – even the Prime Minister, has shared his praise for the activist’s tireless attempts to achieve LGBT equality.
Last year Mr Montague – who is fighting to have his historic criminal conviction for being gay overturned – received a letter of gratitude from the David Cameron.
“I wrote to the Prime Minister thanking him for getting the gay marriage law passed. I thought it would never go through,” he said at the time.
In his reply to the campaigner, Cameron wrote: “I understand that you have been involved in Gay Pride events for some years, and were at Pride in London this year, as well as being elected an Ambassador for Brighton Pride 2013.
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“Let me congratulate you for this, and your involvement in charity fundraising. Your commitment to the community is very impressive.”
Mr Montague first came to Brighton in the 1950s to explore the gay scene and 12 years ago bought a home in the city.
He realised he was gay in his twenties – long before the decriminalisation of homosexuality – and was convicted under Britain’s former anti-gay laws during his mid-40s.
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.
He met his partner Phukkhlai in London in 1997. They entered into a civil partnership in 2006.