Kenneth Felts, a 90 year old resident of Colorado came out as gay after staying in the closet for nearly eight decades. He penned down his autobiography while in lockdown, where he spoke about his love story with a man from his yesteryears.
Hands down, this is one of the best coming out stories of 2020 so far.
A Love Story While Hiding In The Closet:
Kenneth Felts came out as gay to his closest family and friends through Facebook and email during Pride month 2020. A former supervisor and counsellor from Colorado, Kenneth was aware of his sexuality ever since he was 12 years old. However, he decided to out this secret through his memoir while in quarantine and at the age of ninety.
Felts decided to take a little trip down his memory lane, and revisited the times when he was in love with a man called Philip. His love story is from the 50s. This travel down the road, however, is what inspired him to go public about his sexuality.
“Coming out in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s was horrendous,” he said to The Denver Post. “That was part of the reason I didn’t ever consider coming out (before). There was no gay community, there really weren’t gay organizations or anything. People who came out, came out on their own, without support. And I guess I didn’t have the courage to face society at that time, so I just went ahead and buried it,” he told.
However, the couple lost touch after their split up. Just like many other queer people from back in the day, Kenneth also went ahead and married a woman. He even had a girl child with her, but later they divorced.
After his coming out, Kenneth tried searching for Philip but his efforts did not bear any fruits.
Gay, But Never Spoke About It:
“I’ve been in the closet all my life — deep in the closet, behind rows and rows of clothing. I’m way back there. Opening that door at the front, I had great trepidation as to what people would say. I was very concerned because I needed people and I couldn’t stand the thought of losing them just because I decided to finally be who I really was,” said this 90-year-old to the Post.
Kenneth’s only kid, his daughter Rebecca also came out of the closet as a lesbian when she was in university. She came out to her father twenty years ago. Rebecca later married a woman named Tracye Mayes. They made Kenneth feel safe and loved, when he finally decided to come out.
Once he came out, he totally ran with it and got really involved. Felts purchased a rainbow flag, hoodie, and started organizing for LGBTQ+ causes, according to the Post.
“He just really seemed to take it and run with it,” Felts’s daughter-in-law Tracye Mayes said to the Advocate. “He seems to be making up for lost time and really is owning it, which is fantastic.”
Kenneth’s family, friends, and community have been nothing but absolutely supportive of his coming-out, he said. He believes that people should never underestimate their closest circles like family friends, when it comes to one’s coming out.
“Don’t underestimate your friends and family. You might be surprised at how they react if you were to decide to come out,” he told. “Enjoy what you’ve got while you’ve got it because you’ve only got it once.”
Ever since his coming, Kenneth Is Helping LGBTQ+ Organizations To Raise Funds:
Kenneth nothing but embraced his newfound spirit and freedom to be himself, and decided to dive in head first.
“He’s just so brave and he doesn’t even realise that he is, but it’s extraordinary,” his daughter said.
Since his coming out, Felts have taken upon his sleeve to raise vital funds for LGBTQ+ charities. On the 20th of June, he participated in the Denver Pride Virtual 5 kilometre walk. In doing so, he raised four hundred and fifty dollars for the Center on Colfax. It’s an LGBTQ+ organization situated in Colorado.
Identifying your sexuality and coming to terms with it a great feat. Coming out of the closet about it to your family is a whole new game altogether. We understand that it is a hard, complicated and tough decision. That’s why people like Kenneth stand as an example for all of us. His story tells us that it’s never too late to find your voice and freedom. 12, 21, 45 or 90 – it doesn’t matter what age you are. All that matters is your choice and your conviction regarding this choice. Happy Pride y’all!