Facebook | Kenneth Felts

Grandpa Comes Out As Gay At Age 90 And Reveals 70-Year Love Story: 'I Buried It'

A Colorado grandpa who's been leading a double-life for 90 years has finally come out as gay to his family and revealed a 70-year love story that he's spent his entire life keeping hidden from them.

In an interview with the Denver Post, 90-year-old Kenneth Felts revealed he recently made the decision to come out to his family after almost a century of pretending to be straight, and now he's ready to tell his story.

Felts said he never planned on coming out. In fact, he was prepared to take the secret of his sexuality to the grave.

Facebook | Kenneth Felts

However, when the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. and the country went into lockdown, the divorced elderly man spied this as his opportunity to pen his own autobiography.

This brought back some emotional memories of his secret other life.

Facebook | Kenneth Felts

Most importantly, he remembered his one true love, a man named Phillip (not pictured here) who he let slip away out of fear of being his true authentic self.

Felts met Phillip in California in the late 1950s and the two quickly fell madly in love with each other.

Facebook | Kenneth Felts

However, homosexuality wasn't declared legal in the state until 1976, and during the '50s it was still incredibly dangerous to be an openly gay or lesbian person.

And that danger was enforced on a governmental level.

Reddit | RoExpo_Gaming

In 1952, the American Psychiatric Association classified homosexuality as a form of mental disorder, and the following year, President Eisenhower would sign an executive order prohibiting gay people — specifically, people guilty of “sexual perversion”— from obtaining federal jobs.

Ultimately, Felts decided it would be safer for him to live his life as a closeted homosexual than to continue his relationship with Phillip, and the two broke up.

Facebook | Kenneth Felts

At the time, he thought it would be easier that way, though the following decades of struggling to hide himself from his friends and family would certainly prove that to be incorrect.

"I guess I didn’t have the courage to face society at that time, so I just went ahead and buried it," he admitted.

During the lockdown, Felts was chatting with his daughter, Rebecca Mayes, when he mentioned Phillip.

Facebook | Kenneth Felts

In fact, he told her he regretted leaving his lover, which was the first time he had ever mentioned the man to Rebecca, let alone revealed his sexuality.

Although he tried to search for Phillip, Felts was unable to track him down, and his daughter did everything she could to comfort her heartbroken father.

Indeed, Rebecca just might be one of the only people closest to Felts to understand what he's going through, now that he's come out.

Facebook | Kenneth Felts

Twenty years ago, she was the one coming out to him as a lesbian, which Felts admitted took some time to get used to, particularly while he himself was living as a closeted homosexual.

But now that he's finally come out himself, he's no longer afraid to let his friends and family meet the man he's been keeping from them for years.

Felts revealed he's gay to those closest to him online, receiving an outpouring of support from them in response.

Facebook | Kenneth Felts

“I’ve been in the closet all my life — deep in the closet, behind rows and rows of clothing. I’m way back there,” he told the Post.

And after decades of keeping his secret, the thought of revealing it filled him with anxiety.

Facebook | Kenneth Felts

As he said, "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."

Now when you look at Felts' Facebook page, you're treated to plenty of pictures of the smiling man wearing his signature rainbow sweater.

Facebook | Kenneth Felts

He's finally out and proudly living the life he'd spent nearly a century suppressing deep inside of him. And his daughter couldn't be prouder.

“He’s just so brave and he doesn’t even realize that he is, but it’s extraordinary,” she said.

Since his story first went viral, many people have reached out to try and help Felts find Phillip, and someone actually succeeded.

Facebook | Kenneth Felts

In a Facebook post shared on Friday, Felts revealed that someone had dug up information about his lost love, though this 70-year story sadly won't have a happy ending.

"Phillip Allen Jones was the love of my life," he wrote. "I have a very sad and lonely heart today. My first and greatest love has passed away."

At best, the feelings that this search left him with were bittersweet.

Facebook | Kenneth Felts

He added, "It is so terribly frustrating to be so close to and yet not reach my lost love and horribly painful to not be able to say good-by. But the whole world now knows what a loving man he was with me and to me while we were together."

h/t: Denver Post, Facebook | Kenneth Felts