American Kenneth Felts hid his orientation all his life, but at the age of 90 he felt that he was ready to open up to the world, and even tried to find the love of his youth, but the search results broke his heart. The man shared his story with The Washington Post.
According to Felts, from the age of 12, when he first realized he was gay, he lived a double life, torn between two personalities: Ken - his outer heterosexual self, and Larry - his alter ego, gay, whom he suppressed in himself for almost eight decades. “I learned from the Bible not to be gay. I planned to take this secret with me to my grave,”Felts said.
Changes in the American's life occurred when, against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States and isolation, he began to write about his life. Felts said that while writing his memoirs, he "awakened many heartbreaking memories" of his youth. He mainly wrote about his only true love - Philippe.
The men met in the 1950s in Long Beach, California, where they both worked for a retail credit company. We fell in love immediately, Felts remembered. At that time, he was 29 years old, and the man suppressed his sexuality, but an affair with Philip forced him to temporarily accept himself. They had a happy but secret relationship for over a year, until Felts decided he needed to live as a heterosexual. “There was no support or community of gay people at the time. There were no support groups like we have today, and the general public was anti-gay,”he said.
Then Felts parted ways with Philip, admitting that it was a big mistake. He married a woman whom he later divorced and had a child. He admitted that all this time he suppressed his feelings of attachment to men.
As Felts recalled his life story, he realized that the part of him, which he had long suppressed, yearned to break free. At the end of May, the man told his daughter about this, who had exactly the same conversation with him 20 years ago. The man was diagnosed with lymphoma last fall. Felts and his daughter noted that cancer combined with the coronavirus prompted him to finally admit the truth.
In early June, the man openly admitted his sexual orientation on his Facebook account, and also sent an email to friends and family. According to the man, the support he ended up receiving was overwhelming.
Felts noted that although only recently openly declared his orientation, he has been looking for Philip since their separation 40 years ago. “I called every Philip in the California phone book,” he said, adding that as a result of his searches, he learned that his lover had died two years ago. The man admitted that it broke his heart. In memory of Philip, Felts said, he will maintain his orientation: he stuffed his wardrobe with rainbow clothes, acquired an LGBT flag and even dyed his curl blue.