mental health Mandy Kloppers

The challenges and bravery of those who come out as gay later in life

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Coming out mid-life/later in life – when someone accepts and discloses their sexual or gender identity as something other than straight/cisgender (gender when born).

This week we have seen Dame Kelly Holmes come out as gay at the age of 52.  She explained that at last, she can live life as her real self now and in the future.

Emmerdale’s story line on Mary

Currently, the ITV soap, Emmerdale is running a storyline about Mary, who recently came out in her early 70s, saying that she knew she preferred women from when she was a young girl, but never said it out loud until now, some 50 years plus down the line.  She had done what society expected her to do in her youth, meet a man, get pregnant and live happily ever after because the alternative would have been too devastating for her family and close friends as well as the fear of rejection or abandonment and because the reality is they were living the very best life that they could at the time with the information that they had (also back in the late 60s, 70s and 80s were stigmatisation did not make it easy to open up about your sexuality many took the expected path that the character Mary portrays in the TV show)

Coming out later in life

The unique obstacles that coming out later in life presents can include heightened anxiety and fear as well as managing the expectations of your family, friends, and work colleagues/employers, especially if you are undergoing gender reassignment.

Many have said that they have waited until their parents passed away before coming out as the disappointment to them would be unbearable.

Mary (Emmerdale) like many, experienced the initial shock of her daughter but then at a time accepted.  But these things happen more quickly in the soap world whereas in real life may take several years before children speak to their gay parent again.

I am contacted regularly by mid-life/later-in-life gay seniors who have found themselves on this new, exciting, scary path and they often feel they are too old for the gay scene or are not in good enough shape.  They are desperate to make up for a lost time but don’t know the best way to go about it.  Just like straight singles mid-life/later-in-life I advise them on their baggage, fear of finding love and how to take their time in approaching the new dating world that bears no resemblance to the one they left some 20, 30 or 40 years ago.  Most importantly that they are still the person they were before coming out except they are now presenting a newer, better version to the world.

 Select Connections is proud to announce the launch of its all-inclusive dating service from August 2022.  It will be the first and only over 50s only dating agency is the UK to become LGBTQ inclusive and also offer support for those coming out later in life.


Written by: Jacqui Baker

Jacqui (58) is warm, personable, with a lovely Northern Irish accent.  She is experienced and confident in speaking to the media, whether for print, TV or radio.  She is available as an expert for planned features, or we can suggest angles for human interest stories, whether for singles or long-term partners and couples.

Jacqui is also a keen advocate of ensuring a full recovery and healing process must come before any decisions regarding dating or relationships are entered into.  This involves implementing recovery plans and supporting resources specially written and delivered for the mid-life/later-in-life single.

Jacqui also shares her personal experiences becoming single aged 53 via blogs/vlogs etc.


Photo by andrew jay on Unsplash

Mandy Kloppers
Author: Mandy Kloppers

Mandy is a qualified therapist who treats depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, trauma, and many other types of mental health issues. She provides online therapy around the world for those needing support and also provides relationship counselling.