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-We're here in the old Llwynrhydowen
-chapel, Pontsian, Llandysul.
-I'm Wyn Thomas.
-I'm an Unitarian minister for
-six chapels in the Llandysul area.
-I'm a farmer's son from Pontsian and
-I've been a minister for 14 years.
-Throughout that time, I hid
-a major secret about my sexuality.
-A lot of people find it hard
-to tell family and friends...
-..and to society in general,
-that they are gay.
-That's because of the natural
-conservatism that exists in Wales.
-were decriminalised over 50 years.
-Tonight, I'm meeting men who battled
-prejudice over the decades.
-I'll ask them how difficult was it
-for them to say, "This is who I am."
-I meet a teacher...
-..and a former organiser
-of the National Eisteddfod.
-I like that one actually.
-I know you're out of focus.
-Three months ago,
-Matthew and I got married.
-Until then, very few people, apart
-from close family, knew I was gay.
-It was a very special day.
-I enjoyed every minute...
-..but I spent
-parts of the day crying.
-I felt it was the climax
-of years of lying...
-..of hiding, of worrying
-and feeling scared.
-Suddenly, I felt relief and freedom.
-I was very aware
-that our marriage...
-..would be a statement, not only
-of our love and our relationship...
-..but of what we are and what I am.
-Matthew and I had been together
-for 14 years.
-Finally, we could be honest
-about our relationship.
-The feeling of having to lie
-was the most difficult feeling.
-Often, something would happen,
-something would come up...
-..and you felt you had to lie
-to protect the truth.
-Until 2013, it wasn't possible
-for same-sex couples to get married.
-Until 1967, a homosexual
-relationship was illegal.
-Even after that, over the decades...
-..a lot of gay men have felt
-the need to hide the truth...
-..about their sexuality.
-I'm on a journey to try and discover
-more about the experiences...
-..of gay men in the past
-and see what effect it's had...
-..on the lives of people
-like myself and my husband.
-I consider it a privilege
-to meet and speak to older people...
-..who've been through these
-experiences during a different age.
-Some of them lived through a time
-when homosexuality was illegal.
-The battles they fought has given
-someone like me so much freedom.
-My journey takes me to a seaside
-village on the North Wales coast...
-..to the home of a man who's
-constantly battled against the tide.
-Roy Owen is preparing for a meeting
-of the Conway Diners' Club...
-..a diners' club for gay men.
-It was formed almost 30 years ago.
-Roy says that most members
-are in their 60s and 70s.
-How many members do you have?
-It's a club for gay men mostly.
-A gay men's club.
-How often do you meet?
-Twice a month.
-In the same place every time?
-In the same place every time?
-In the 1970s, Roy was prominent with
-the Conservative Party in Wales.
-He's a former
-He told me he had to travel to meet
-other gay men in the early-'60s.
-To Manchester, to be honest.
-There were places you could go...
-..but you were being scrutinised
-by the police.
-You had to be very careful
-what you were doing.
-You couldn't kiss in the street.
-You had to be very careful.
-He also reveals to me that he
-was prosecuted in the early-'60s.
-It was a rather painful experience
-appearing in court in London.
-I was accused of indecent behaviour
-in a public place.
-In a toilet.
-When he asked me...
-..if I was pleading guilty...
-..I said not guilty.
-"What do you mean?"
-.."There was a lock
-on the cubicle door.
-"No-one could come in."
-The charge was dropped.
-15 years before I was born...
-..the Sexual Offences Act
-It decriminalised homosexual
-acts in private between two men...
-..if both had attained
-the age of 21.
-Roy told me that being gay
-is still difficult.
-It's been extremely difficult.
-It's destroyed people's characters.
-And in truth...
-..one or two took the easy way out
-by committing suicide.
-The emotion was never far
-from the surface with Roy.
-He's lost friends, he's witnessed
-battles, he's experienced feelings.
-You could see the effect
-these experiences have had on him.
-For many of us, Hywel Wyn Edwards
-is a familiar face...
-of the National Eisteddfod.
-He told me that as
-a young gay man in Aberystwyth...
-..he had to keep his sexuality
-To meet men, he had to visit
-specific locations in the town...
-Those type of locations
-existed in the town.
-Some of them were, how can I say,
-more appealing than others.
-Certainly, that happened.
-They were the locations
-I tended to visit at times.
-The secrets continued when
-he attended university in Bangor.
-I was hiding the truth.
-I lived a double life.
-At the time, I was also,
-on more than one occasion...
-..I was, how can I say...
-..in company with a woman or women.
-I don't know if I'd realised
-if people had their doubts or not.
-I was trying to keep what I did
-in private a secret from everyone.
-There was a turning point.
-Hywel takes me to a place...
-..that has memories
-from the beginning of his career.
-There were many good memories
-but one bitter memory stands out.
-This is where I started teaching
-back in 1968.
-I was teaching here
-from '68 until '73.
-You were here when the allegations
-were made against you.
-This is where I was
-when the news broke.
-Hywel told me that he had started
-a relationship with a local man.
-They were both over 21
-and the relationship was legal.
-Two housemates thought his behaviour
-was unsuitable for a young teacher.
-They reported him
-to the school's authorities.
-At the time, how did you feel?
-I'm sure there was anger
-I was very, very sad, I'm sure.
-I don't know how I came through it.
-I remember visiting my doctor.
-on reflection, was terrible.
-Then again, maybe that was
-the expected response.
-He told me to grow up,
-look for a woman, get married...
-..and do what I was supposed to.
-That was the last thing
-someone wanted to hear at that time.
-The school's headmaster
-and governors supported Hywel...
-..and he was able to keep his job.
-Surprisingly, he's kept in touch
-with the teachers...
-..who made the complaint.
-Hywel was a far more forgiving
-person than I could be.
-That's not something I should say.
-I should say, "Yes, we should
-forgive one another."
-If I had friends like the friends
-who did that to him...
-..I wouldn't have been so forgiving.
-I would definitely have found it
-very difficult to forgive.
-I'm Wyn Thomas,
-a farmer's son and minister.
-I'm also gay. I've just married
-my partner Matthew.
-I've always found it difficult to
-say those simple words, "I'm gay."
-The reason for this, I think...
-..is that it directly
-draws people's attention...
-..to the sexual aspect
-of the relationship.
-That's not the important aspect,
-it's not the meaningful aspect.
-It's not the valuable thing
-we try and celebrate.
-It's not what we think about when we
-think about a heterosexual couple.
-If acknowledging what I am
-has been difficult for me...
-..how was it
-for gay couples decades ago?
-I'm meeting older gay men...
-..to hear about their battles
-and the effect it has today.
-I can empathise with Dafydd Gwylon.
-Like me, he kept his sexuality
-a secret for years.
-It was more difficult
-in the '70s and '80s...
-..of the 20th century.
-Because of people's feelings...
-..it was difficult in many cases.
-In the early-'80s, Dafydd and his
-partner Robert moved in together.
-That strikes me as a brave move.
-I often say that the freedom
-and right that I have today...
-..derives from people like you...
-..who did something
-..unacceptable to some extent.
-How aware were you
-that you were making a point...
-..making a statement?
-I don't think we were concerned
-about making a point at all.
-What I felt was thisis where
-we felt most content...
-..and most alive.
-I was in a relationship...
-..and I could do things
-with another man.
-That's what made a difference to me.
-Both campaigned for the rights
-of gay people.
-As a former teacher, Dafydd feels
-there was a price to pay.
-Since then, I haven't had
-one full-time job...
-I had to rely on part-time work...
-..even though I'd applied
-for many full-time jobs.
-The education authorities
-have been deficient.
-Some school heads
-have been prejudiced.
-There have been some
-better school heads, of course...
-..but many prejudiced school heads
-are still alive in South Wales.
-For Dafydd and Robert...
-that's grown between them...
-..and even though
-they disagreed with me...
-..when I described them
-..they opposed societal conventions
-and lived together...
-..when that wasn't something
-accepted by society.
-Societal expectations caused me
-a great amount of heartbreak.
-I came close to turning my back
-on the ministry some years ago...
-..because of my sexuality.
-There is a Biblical verse somewhere
-that's spouted by one or two.
-"If a man also lies with mankind...
-both have committed an abomination."
-Many things are an abomination
-in the eyes of the Lord.
-Eating prawns, eating pork,
-there are all kinds of sins.
-It's not been a great worry to me,
-I have to admit.
-I made my peace with God
-many years ago.
-I'm content and happy in the fact
-that life, hope and love...
-..will conquer rules
-that were in place 3,000 years ago.
-After the stress he faced
-as a young teacher in North Wales...
-..Hywel Wyn Edwards lived with
-his partner Gareth for 30 years.
-We moved here in '97, April '97.
-I've been here for 21 years.
-Unfortunately, a few months
-after we moved here...
-..Gareth was diagnosed with cancer.
-He only lived here for two years.
-I feel privileged that Hywel
-is talking to me about his partner.
-Being gay isn't something
-he discusses very often.
-No, I haven't discussed it.
-I haven't discussed it with anyone,
-Most certainly, I never
-discussed it with my parents...
-..my close family or my friends
-throughout my life.
-My parents would come up
-and stay with us.
-Over the Christmas holidays.
-I take it, from that,
-that they accepted.
-Whether they accepted it 100%,
-I don't know.
-Maybe they accepted it 80%.
-They could see
-that we were happy together...
-..and that was far more important
-than anything else.
-Matthew and I understand
-how sensitive families can be...
-..in responding to a relationship
-between two men.
-My father refused to attend
-My father hasn't been able
-to accept the situation.
-I can understand completely.
-I regret causing him
-so much pain and worry...
-..and to many others over the years,
-to be honest.
-It's such a pity that something
-as simple and fundamental...
-..can cause such problems...
-..and in effect, can split families.
-We can't wait for people to accept.
-We have to live our own lives.
-I have to do
-what I think is right...
-..and be faithful
-to what I believe is correct.
-In the past, gay men were
-persecuted, accused and punished.
-The Scottish Government apologised
-for the treatment some endured.
-On my journey, I hear pleas
-for a similar response in Wales.
-For those men
-who suffered the injustice...
-and the oppression...
-..and the families of those men...
-the feeling of shame.
-that made those men feel shameful...
-..for something so natural as having
-a relationship with another man.
-It's time for
-the Welsh Government...
-..to follow the wonderful lead
-shown by Nicola Sturgeon...
-The Welsh Government believes
-it's not their place to apologise...
-..because the criminal system
-hasn't been devolved.
-It's the responsibility
-of politicians in London.
-The Westminster Government
-have introduced a process...
-..to annul historic punishments.
-can be long and complicated.
-It appears that only 165 men
-..have made a successful claim
-over the past five years.
-who was prosecuted 50 years ago...
-..I get the feeling
-that the scars are still painful.
-Why was a gay man prosecuted
-in a court of law?
-That only made the situation worse.
-There was a feeling
-in the general public...
-..that we were made out
-to be criminals.
-A connection was made
-between paedophilia and being gay.
-Something like that
-was misunderstood intentionally.
-They should now...
-..however successful prosecutions
-were at that time...
-..they should now be annulled.
-There should be an understanding
-that gay men did nothing wrong.
-Despite the lies,
-the secrets and the heartbreak...
-..there's no doubt that people
-like me face less problems today...
-..than those encountered by Dafydd,
-Roy and Hywel over the decades.
-I'm glad that I am, finally,
-able to be honest about what I am.
-It's never easy
-for anyone to make...
-..such a grand
-and difficult statement...
-..but the sooner the better
-that people can be themselves...
-..and live their lives
-honestly and openly...
-..and do that with the support of
-family, friends and the community.
-S4C Subtitles by Adnod Cyf.