Gay Writer Profiles ’Ex-Gay’ Friend Michael Glatze
Writer Benoit Denizet-Lewis met an old friend and colleague to look back on old times and discuss how the old friend had changed. He wrote a profile of that old friend for the New York Times, reported SF Weekly in a June 17 article.
Denizet-Lewis’ old friend had changed quite a lot, really, since the days when they both worked at XY Magazine, a publication -- the first of its kind -- geared for GLBT youth. Denizet-Lewis was meeting with Michael Glatze, once a leading light among GLTB youth and now an "ex-gay" who insists that God doesn’t make people who are gay. Rather, Glatze told Denizet-Lewis, God makes people heterosexual, and then they somehow lose their way.
In Glatze’s own case, Denizet-Lewis wrote in the New York Times, Glatze attributed his homosexuality -- or what he used to think of as his homosexuality -- to a lack of masculine identity, for which he laid the blame on his late father.
Indeed, those who question Glatze’s "conversion" from gay to straight might also see Glatze’s father as a key figure in the story of how a driven, ambitious young gay man, determined to make the world a better place for sexual minorities, one day sat before his computer at Young Gay Americatext, a publication for gay youth that he had started with his then-boyfriend, and declared his heterosexuality in terms that are familiar from the anti-gay religious right:
"I am straight," Glatze typed. "Homosexuality = Death. I choose Life."
The previous year, Glatze had feared that heart palpitations he was suffering might be a sign that he, like his father before him, was destined to die of a congenital heart problem. It was after medical tests showed that he did not the same heart defect, the New York Times article recollected, that Glatze began to praise right-wing personalities such as Ann Coulter.
"He was initially drawn to a liberal interpretation of the Bible and argued against a fundamentalist approach to Christianity," wrote Denizet-Lewis, but that, as it turned out, was just a way station on Glatze’s road to purported heterosexuality.
Eventually, Glatze "left" homosexuality -- and the two men with whom he was in a relationship, longtime boyfriend Ben and a third member of their household with whom they had been involved for several years.
After that, Denizet-Lewis wrote, Glatze had two relationships with women, though Glatze would not disclose the extent to which those attachments were sexual or romantic, telling the writer only that he had been "like an excited teenager" and that the relationships had not been "godly."
Denizet-Lewis’ article covered the territory that stories about "ex-gays" must, almost by necessity, address: Whether Glatze had perhaps never been gay to begin with, or whether he simply has quashed his same-sex feelings to a point where they are almost never part of his conscious experience. Denizet-Lewis asked Glatze whether he had secretly been miserable during the time he identified as gay.
"Well, you can’t see how dark it is in a cave when you’re in it," Glatze responded. "But, no, at the time I didn’t consider myself unhappy."
Glatze told the writer that he no longer experienced same-sex attraction, and said that when he used to have recurrences of same-sex attraction, he would "sit with" the feeling, much as one might do in meditation, in order to "unpack" it and, in so doing, defuse it.
The former leading light of the equality movement also told the writer not to invest himself emotionally in same-sex relationships.