By Dan Coles and William Lailey
A man who hid his sexuality for more than 60 years has spoken out about finally living the life he’s always wanted – at the age of nearly 100.
George Montague, 96, who likes to refer to himself as the ‘oldest gay in the village’ – after the famous Little Britain sketch, was a war veteran who served in WWII with the RAF.
Fear of arrest and disappointing his family led him to marry a woman and father three children, it was only when his mother passed away in 1981 that he felt he could reveal the truth about his sexuality.
In spite of facing years of hardship due to his sexuality – which included being arrested – George has spent decades campaigning for equality and acceptance for all people who want to pursue same-sex relationships.
He has since married his husband Somchai, 50, and the pair say they’ve never been happier to feel accepted for who they truly are.
George, who now lives in Brighton, added: “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.
“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.
“Now, I’m married to a wonderful man and our lives have been full of love since we first met each other in 1997, when Somchai was working for a Norwegian oil company, and was attending a conference in London.
George met his now husband, Somchai, 23 years ago in a bar in London and says his wife, Vera, told him that she had already had 21 years of his life so Somchai could have the rest.
George said: “Somchai and I had our civil partnership in 2006 and have been blissfully in love ever since.
“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.”
George has promised that he will get to the 100-year mark 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 of 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.”