An Elderly Man’s Confession About How He’s Spent Christmas For 20 Years Made His Neighbors Jump To Action
Terrence Brian tends to keep a low profile. Well into his 80s, the Oldham-based Englishman has been retired for some time now. He's filled his free time with a few volunteer groups, but he's really toned down his public activities in recent years. All in all, Terrence lives a quiet life, and not even the usual hustle-and-bustle of the holiday season seems to rile him up — at least, not on the outside. But after other Oldham residents got word of Terrence's eye-opening way of spending his holidays, a sudden international spotlight shone down on his life — and made an impact on it forever.
A group for LGBTQ+ citizens
Terrence was volunteering with the UK charity, Age UK, when his quiet life was turned upside down. He'd been involved with the charity for about five years, and was most passionate about one of their social engagement groups for older LGBTQ+ citizens, called Out and About. Out and About's cause hit very close to home for Terrence.
A personal low point
It was Terrence's proactive volunteer work that first began to draw people's attention — after all, how often do you see someone in his 80s dedicate all of his time and energy to charity? — but that wasn't the reason he first connected with Age UK. He'd come to the charity in a time of need. At a personal low point, he'd been feeling lonelier than ever before.
His life-changing realization
Up until then, Terrence's life had been peppered with events that forced him to face loneliness from time to time. From the age of 20, when he first realized he was gay, he'd felt like an outsider. And it was back then that he discovered volunteer work as a coping mechanism.
"I must be a freak"
“When I was 20," Terrence said, "I couldn’t understand why I was attracted to my own sex. The first thing I thought was that I must be a freak.” It was the sixties, and identifying as LGBTQ+ wasn't just frowned upon — it was illegal. You could even get arrested for it, which must have terrified Terrence and other young and vulnerable people in the burgeoning LGBTQ+ community of the 1960s.