- As he was writing his memoir, he realized that his story would not be complete if he didn’t reveal his homosexuality.
- He also wanted to tell the world about his one true love, Phillip.
- He posted his story on Facebook, which was met with tremendous love and support.
If you’re already 90 years old and the future is very much uncertain because of the pandemic, you would probably do whatever the hell you want without worrying about what other people will think. This is probably part of the mindset of Kenneth Felts, who recently came out as gay after decades of concealing his real sexuality.
Felts, who lives in Arvada, Colorado, decided to write his memoir while currently stuck home because of the pandemic. As he was doing so, he realized that his story would never be complete if he didn’t reveal his homosexuality.
In an interview with CNN, Felts revealed that he has known he was gay since he was just 12 years old. But because he grew up during a time that homosexuality was still not widely accepted and actually illegal, he chose to keep it a secret.
He also said that he couldn’t write his memoir without revealing about Phillip Jones, his one true love. So he finally came out, first to his daughter, and then to the rest of his family and friends.
He posted on Facebook about this, saying “I am gay, I am out, and I am free.”
He discovered he was gay during a sleepover with a classmate who helped him realize his preference. But he came from a devout Christian family who taught that being homosexual is a sin.
“I just knew that if I were to come out as gay, I would probably go to hell. I was going to the grave with (my secret),” Felts said.
So Felts lived as a straight man all throughout his young adult years – during his stint with the U.S. Navy when he was deployed to Korea during the Korean War and his years in college.
He met Phillip Jones when he was working at a retail credit company in the late 1950. He was living in Long Beach, California at that time. He said that he was still straight when he met Jones and he didn’t expect to open up.
He added that Jones was “the one that threw me out and made me realize that we had potential together.”
They first dated in coffee shops and then eventually moved in together. They lived happily as a gay couple for a year, although in secret. Felts said that homosexuality was still illegal during that time and was considered a felony.
They couldn’t hold hands or show affection in public since they can be arrested. He said that “once you go to court, your information is spread all around town and you lose your friends, your family.”
The pressure of becoming gay in such an environment eventually became too much for the couple and Felts decided to break off the relationship. He resigned from his job and moved back home. Jones wrote him several letters, saying that if he didn’t respond, he wouldn’t bother him anymore.
Felts didn’t respond to his letters, which he called later on as a “big mistake.”
He created an alter ego in order to separate his public and secret life. Later on, Felts got married to a woman he met at his church’s youth group. They had a daughter but they eventually got divorced in 1980.
He was still pining for Jones too and would search through telephone books to look for means to contact him.
“I called every Phillip J in there and was never able to locate him. I will die always regretting having left Phillip but hopefully he forgave me.”
Now at the age of 90, Felts wanted to do the right thing. He sent an email to his daughter Rebecca Mayes telling her about his one true love.
Mayes was surprised to learn that her father was gay, especially since he reacted strongly to her coming out as a lesbian 25 years ago. But he quickly accepted her sexuality and even became her wife’s biggest supporter.
Felts with his daughter, Rebecca, who came out as a lesbian years ago.
Felts’ Facebook post was met with tremendous love and support. Someone even offered to look for Jones, but unfortunately, they discovered that he died in 2013.
Felts is now a proud gay man who wears pink and blue streaks in his hair. He even participated in the 2020 Denver Pride Virtual 5k with the aid of his walker.
“I don’t see how I could not be happy for the rest of my life. There’s a whole world out there that will accept you and love you for who you are,” he said.
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