Grandfather who bravely came out at 90 tells queer elders still in the closet: ‘It’s never too late to come out’
A grandfather who came out as gay at 90 has told other older people who are in the closet that it’s “never too late” to be their authentic selves.
Kenneth Felts kept his sexuality hidden all his life, but that changed when memories of his first love flooded back as he sat down to write a memoir earlier this year.
He went on to come out to his lesbian daughter before revealing his sexuality to the world.
Now, he is urging other older LGBT+ people to consider coming out of the closet.
“I know I’m in an unusual position and I just came out just like that,” Felts told USA Today.
“I hadn’t even planned on it or no, nothing, but I would think that if a person is contemplating coming out, they first need to check on what support systems are available to them.”
Gay grandfather Kenneth Felts discovered the LGBT+ community is full of love.
He said he has been heartened by the wave of love and support he was met with when he came out as gay, and told other older queer people that they should expect the same.
“It’s amazing how much love there is out in the community,” he said.
“And they’re going to share it with you. They’re going to pour it on you by the bucket full.
“I got memo after memo telling me how they are supporting me and they love me. Never expected that. I didn’t expect any kind of response like I’ve been getting.
“And so I think other people will kind of have the same experience that they might be surprised just how many people support them.”
He concluded: “It’s never too late to come out.”
I got memo after memo telling me how they are supporting me and they love me.
Kenneth Felts also opened up about the moment he and his old flame Phillip “hit it off real good” when they were working together.
The pair started “going out for coffee” and then stated dating, before they moved in together.
The couple lived in bliss for nine or 10 months, but the relationship crumbled one Sunday morning when they visited a church.
Felts’ “Christian values” came back to him and he began to wonder if what he was doing was really OK.
Their relationship lasted just one more month, before Felts decided to live as a straight man.
“And I left and have actually been kind of looking for Phillip ever since then.”
His first love Phillip had already passed away by the time Kenneth tracked him down.
Heartbreakingly, Felts’ search for Phillip ended in tragedy last month when he finally tracked him down, only to discover that he had already passed away.
He told Newsweek in July that a woman who lived on the East Coast contacted him in an effort to track down his first love.
“But she discovered a week or so ago that he had passed away around two years ago. So it’s very difficult and very painful,” Felts said at the time.
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“To me, he died less than two weeks ago. I posted what I felt was an obituary for him online and people have been overwhelmingly supportive, saying how sorry they are that I missed seeing him.
“But it still hurts.”
The heartbroken 90-year-old added: “In all the relationships I’ve had since Phillip, nothing has ever measured up to him, and I don’t anticipate that anything ever will.”
He said he is “more concerned” with the “quiet aspects of a relationship” such as holding hands and “being close”.
“I’d like to have a boyfriend; companionship and somebody there when the days get longer,” he wrote.