LGBT rights have come a long way, and we still have a long way to go. A gay couple who have been together for an impressive 55 years, have reflected how far gay rights have come over the course of their relationship.
Ted Spring, 78, and Paul Pollard, 77, are believed to be one in of Britain’s longest gay relationships, as they celebrate their 55th anniversary this week. Ted said, while speaking to The Herald: “I knew from the minute I saw him that this is someone I could spend the rest of my life with. I was chatting to a friend of his when he came over. He bought me a drink and we just started talking – he’s never bought me a drink since mind you!”
When they first met, homosexuality was still illegal in the country, and they had to wait a long seven years before they could be together openly. Even after this, though, homophobia still made it difficult for them.
Ted went onto say: “I just wanted to be normal. I’d had girlfriends in the past, but it never felt right. I always knew deep down; I just couldn’t tell anyone. I hate hurting people, and that’s why I struggled to come to terms with who I was. When I first met Paul, I was actually engaged to a woman. We’d been together before, split and got back together – I just couldn’t face putting her through all that again by telling her I was gay.”
But, his meeting Paul was the catalyst for change.
“I was always frightened by the gay side of life, but Paul didn’t care. He always used to say, ‘What’s wrong with being queer? What’s wrong with that? Who cares what people think!’ He showed me that no matter who you love, or what you love, love is beautiful and, after being with Paul for 55 years, I can honestly say I’ve never been happier.”
Ted has a rather interesting view, though, that he actually preferred growing up while homosexuality was still illegal.
“Society has changed so much. I think it was better when it was against the law, if I’m being honest. We were like a big family; we all knew who we were and where we could go. You’d go out and visit people on a Sunday for tea and things like that.”
“We always used to go for drinks on a Saturday night at The Lockyer Hotel. It was only a little place, but we were used to it and the staff knew us all. The country has changed so much, but prejudice still goes on. If a lot more people had a better attitude, it would allow for a greater portion of society to live their lives.”