Get involved: Send your news, views, pictures and video by texting SUPIC to 80360 or email us.
Gay icon George Montague is an ambassador for Brighton Pride
He was the iconic image of 2009’s Pride and now George Montague has been named ambassador for this year’s event.
Mr Montague famously was spotted driving his mobility scooter at 2009’s Pride parade proudly waving the banner ‘I’m the oldest gay in the village’.
It was such a striking image it was included in website Buzzfeed’s recent 20 images which summed up Brighton.
Now the 90-year-old has been named as an ambassador for Pride 2013 and is set to play a prominent role in this year’s parade once again.
Mr Montague realised he was gay in his 20s when it was illegal to be homosexual and despite being “very gay” in his youth he married aged 37.
He said: “It was just expected that everyone got married.
“I didn’t know whether you could stop being homosexual or not so I told myself I could stop and I did for four years. It’s very difficult to understand now.”
He was married to his wife Vera for more than 20 years and the couple had three children.
He said: “I was always convinced my wife knew I was gay when she married me but it wasn’t discussed.
“She could have divorced me, she could have taken me to the cleaners but she didn’t.”
He was told that he was on the local police “queer list” of suspected practicing homosexuals and in his mid-40s was convicted.
He lost his job as scout commissioner and had to pay a £200 fine but fortunately was able to convince local journalists to keep his name out of the papers to save the embarrassment of his family and the scouts.
Mr Montague left his wife 30 years ago to allow her to find another partner and she found love with another man.
Good friends Mr Montague said they had a falling out at the time of his leaving but were good friends in the years until her death around 14 years ago.
He came out to his family in 1982 after his mother had died. This was warmly received and they told him they had known for a long time.
Mr Montague first came to Brighton in the 1950s to explore the gay scene and ten years ago bought a home in the city. He spends half his time here and half in Thailand with his partner of 16 years Somchai Phukkhlai.
He said he did not wish he had been young in a more gay-friendly time and thinking back on his life he is just grateful for all the luck he has had.
He added: “I am just glad I have lived long enough to see all these changes. I spent my early years ashamed of being gay and terrified of being found out and as the climate has changed now I want to shout it out from the rooftops.”
Mr Montague received the largest number of nominations to be a Pride ambassador and says he is looking forward to Pride more than ever.
He said: “Each year I enjoy Pride even more. We have come a long, long way since it was a criminal offence, which it was for 50 years of my life, but we still have some way to go.”
Mr Montague is looking for someone to edit a work he has been compiling on gay issues in return for a fee.
Anyone with information should contact 01273 677191 or email email@example.com.
- Murder investigation launched following huge fire which killed man, 24, and led to four others needing treatment
- Shoreham lifeboat heroes clock up 50 years at sea
- Supreme Court judges allow Scientology wedding
- Man robbed of shoes in Worthing attack
- Same-sex weddings are the "icing on the cake"
Comments are closed on this article.