Brighton’s ‘Oldest Gay in the Village’ still marching with Pride
Aug01

Brighton’s ‘Oldest Gay in the Village’ still marching with Pride

LAST UPDATED // Friday, 01 August 2014 13:50 Written by // Andrew Shaw

With the UK's Brighton Pride March coming up this weekend, Brighton’s ‘Oldest Gay in the Village’ has received a letter of congratulations from Prime Minister David Cameron. 

George Montague, 91, attends Brighton Pride on his mobility scooter with the banner: “I’m the Oldest Gay in the Village.”

Montague is fighting to have his criminal conviction for being gay overturned.

He was convicted under Britain’s former anti-gay laws during his mid-40s.

His local Conservative member has asked the government for help in overturning the conviction, after a law allowing men to apply for historic consensual convictions for same-sex activity to be erased from police records came into force in 2012.

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George Montague with his new book.

Montague, who was a senior scout commissioner working with disabled children at the time of his conviction, says he is also owed an apology from the Scouting movement for ejecting him.

“I was in the Scout movement for 40 years. I ended up with a conviction and I feel upset and angry. The police were institutionally homophobic at that time and I want an apology from the Scout Association.

“I wrote to the Prime Minister thanking him for getting the gay marriage law passed. I thought it would never go through.

“I was very pleased to receive a personal letter in reply from the Prime Minister.”

Prime Minister David Cameron congratulated Montague on his involvement in gay pride.

“Let me congratulate you for this, and your involvement in charity fundraising. Your commitment to the community is very impressive.”

This year, Montague is once again a Brighton Pride Ambassador, and his Pride biography reads:

"George realised he was gay in his twenties, when it was illegal to be homosexual. Like many of his friends at the time George married. He was 37. His wife, Vera, knew George’s gay friends but the issue of George’s sexuality was never discussed. George believed if he got married he could stop being gay, which of course never happened. He fathered three children and now has three grandchildren who he is very proud of and loves dearly. At a family gathering after his family had grown up, George decided to come out to his children and the rest of his family.

"On June 28, 1997 George met his partner Somchai Phukkhlai in London; they have been civil partners since 2006 and will shortly be celebrating their 16th anniversary together. They have homes in Brighton and Thailand where they spend the English winter."

 

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Andrew Shaw

Andrew Shaw

Andrew Shaw is editor of Queensland Pride.

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