United Kingdom

RAF veteran his his sexuality until he was 68

A World War Two veteran has revealed he is happily married to a man after previously hiding his sexuality until he was 68.

Former RAF airman George Montague, now 96, said it took him decades to reveal the truth because he 'did not want to disappoint his family'.

Mr Montague also feared being arrested and claimed he was on a police 'watchlist' before homosexuality was decriminalised. 

He married ex-wife Vera when he was 35 and had three children but said he felt comfortable coming out after his mother's death in 1981.

Mr Montague, now married to husband Somchai, 50, has since spent years campaigning for equality and acceptance of same-sex relationships.   

George Montague, left, 96, has opened up on hiding his sexuality until he was 68. He is pictured with husband Somchai, 50

RAF veteran Mr Montague was married with three children but came out in 1981 after the death of his mother. He met his now-husband Somchai in 1997 and said wife Vera, who knew he was gay, told him to follow his heart

The veteran said he feared being arrested before homosexuality was decriminalised and also feared 'disappointing his family' and thus was not comfortable coming out until after his mother's death. Since then he has vowed to campaign for equality and has ridden a motorised scooter at parades 

The veteran, who lives in Brighton, said: 'I have spent so much of my life hiding who I really was that now I want to shout it from the rooftops.

'I have been blessed with real love in my life and I can't ask for any more than that.

'I had to spend so many years hiding who I was, my ex-wife, Vera, knew I was gay before we married but she said she would rather have a gay man than no man at all.

'My mother kept asking me to get married and give her grandchildren as I was 35 at the time, she said she would rather not know if I was swinging the other way.

'I played the part and had three beautiful children with Vera, but nobody else knew anything about how I really felt.'

He added: 'Being who I was inside was illegal in the 70s but I made the decision to stop hiding who I was when my mother passed away.

'I always thought it was insane that a person couldn't love who they wanted to based on their gender and whether they are both male or female.'

Mr Montague, pictured left at a pride event and right with Somchai, said he had been 'blessed with real love' in his life

He claimed he was on a police watchlist in his younger days and feared being arrested because of his sexuality. He is pictured here in his youth

The couple, pictured together, had a civil partnership in 2006 and live in Brighton

Mr Montague met his husband in 1997 in a bar in London when Somchai was working for a Norwegian oil firm and was attending a conference in the UK.

When he told his wife Vera about his new love, he said she told him 'she had already had 21 years of his life so Somchai could have the rest'. 

He added: 'Somchai and I had our civil partnership in 2006 and have been blissfully in love ever since.

Mr Montague said he will continue to celebrate his sexuality for as long as he lives

'After spending such a large part of my life in hiding, I have been campaigning for acceptance ever since I decided to be open about my sexuality.

'I tell everyone I meet that I'm gay, I want everyone one to know. When you spend so much of life hiding who you are and finally open yourself up it becomes addictive.'

Mr Montague has also vowed to reach 100 and will continue to celebrate his sexuality for as long as he lives.

He added: 'It must be accepted by everyone because nobody should be made to feel that they can't love someone of the same sex.

'I loved my mother very much but she would never have been OK with me being gay.

'The police said to keep watch on us, sending plain clothed coppers into the toilets to catch people out.

'It was awful when you were caught, I was on the list of people to watch out for and when you were found out to be gay you were automatically assumed to be a paedophile.

'But things are so different now, I'll campaign for as long as I live, I love my life, I love who I am and I love my wonderful husband.

'I could quite possibly be the oldest gay man in the UK, and I'm quite positive I'm the oldest gay in the village.'

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