It’s never too late to embrace who you are and live the life you want to live. Just ask 90-year-old Kenneth Felts, who recently came out to his daughter, Rebecca, who is also gay.
The BBC released a video highlighting Kenneth’s story after he comes out to his daughter Rebecca, as well as Rebecca’s response. The touching and emotional video depicts Kenneth revealing his reasons for coming out after all of these years, discussing his struggles and regrets, and his relationship with his daughter.
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90-Year-Old Kenneth Felts Comes Out to His Daughter
“I’m free,” Kenneth says at the start of the video, before letting out an infectious chuckle. “I can wear the shirts I want, I can wear necklaces, I get blue colour in my hair. It’s the freedom of doing without fear that somebody’s going to disparage you for it.”
We are then introduced to Kenneth’s daughter, Rebecca, whom Kenneth had during his 16-year marriage to a woman. Rebecca, who is also gay, says, “I am just so happy he can be himself now.”
“I went through most of my life as a straight person,” Kenneth says. “I had not planned on coming out at all.” But during the ongoing novel coronavirus lockdowns, Kenneth began writing his life’s memoirs as a project. It was then, he says, that certain things from his past began bubbling up in a big way.
“I said to my daughter Rebecca, ‘I sure miss Phillip.'” Rebecca had no idea who “Phillip” was. Kenneth says at that point, he realized he’s revealed that it was time to share not only with Rebecca but with everyone about who he really was. “It’s time to just tell everybody,” he adds.
The video then shares a little backstory about Kenneth and Phillip. Phillip was Kenneth’s first love, but at the time they met — in the 1950s — homosexuality was illegal. Because of that, they kept their relationship a secret and were never seen in public together. (Later in the video, it says that Kenneth began looking for Phillip after his marriage ended, and he recently found out Phillip passed away two years ago.)
Kenneth also adds that he grew up in western Kansas, “which is a very religious area,” and that those religious views were another factor in him keeping his sexuality hidden from those around him.
“I mostly just felt so sad for him,” Rebecca says, “having all these regrets. The gay part certainly didn’t bother me one bit. I just wanted him to be happier.”
But it hasn’t always been smooth sailing between the two. When Rebecca came out to Kenneth 25 years ago, his response was not as understanding as hers would be in 2020.
“I don’t remember a lot of what you said,” Rebecca says, referring to her own coming out, “Except that, uh, ‘It wouldn’t last six months.’ So he was not positive.”
“It put me in a difficult situation,” Kenneth responds. “She’s coming out to me: ‘Dad, I’m gay.’ I’m gay but I can’t say that because I’m not out. So I have to say to her what a straight person does say.”
Still, Kenneth eventually embraced Rebecca and her partner, whom she’s been with now for more than 25 years.
“Before I came out,” Kenneth says at the end of the video, “I was doing everything I could not to avoid drawing attention to me. It’s just a total reversal of my role and I’m embracing it and doing what I can for the gay cause.”
Kenneth is living proof that it is never too late to be who you want to be, who you are. We’re so glad to see him finally live life as himself and to have a great support system in his daughter, Rebecca.
Matt is a writer, editor, and content strategist currently based in Washington state. He has worked as a managing editor for the iconic I Can Has Cheezburger, Celebuzz (a SpinMedia site), and now Mamas Uncut. He also acted as the Social Media Director for CafeMom.