Not the same love

Hollywood film explores why editor left gay lifestyle

Actor James Franco
Actor James Franco played Michael Glatze in the movie I Am Michael

Eight years after his lifestyle change, former gay activist Michael Glatze is still sending the media chattering as his story is told in a Hollywood movie "I am Michael" which stars gay actor James Franco and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2015.

Despite opposing views, there is mutual respect between Michael and the film's gay director and actors, so much so that they appreciated Michael thanking them for making the film.

Perhaps the reason for this respect is that Michael Glatze and his wife Rebekah say that their emphasis is unconditional love.

"We're here... to love everyone unconditionally," Michael told the Christian Post in 2014. "Our emphasis is on spreading the good news [of Jesus] to reach people, inspire them and serve the community."

Once a participant in gay rights rallies and the editor of two prominent gay magazines, Michael championed the cultural plasticity of sexuality and gender in major TV and magazine stories, and received the National Role Model Award from major homosexual-rights organization Equality Forum.

Michael's journey into homosexuality began at age 13 after his father's death. He recalls feeling "unable to handle my own masculinity" and as he became attracted to men "I decided I must be gay."

Wanting to champion the causes of young homosexuals, Michael says he worked for a gay magazine that he knew "bordered on pornography" knowing it was a stepping stone to more virtuous work. At 22, he became co-founder and editor of what he describes as a "not-so-pornographic" magazine. In his time there he co-produced Jim in Bold, the first major documentary film to tackle gay teen suicide.

Yet, he recalls a constant inner questioning of his motivations and lifestyle that others saw as mere idealism: "Even in the darkest days of late-night parties, substance abuse and all kinds of things... I felt like, 'Why am I here, what am I doing?'"

"I would assume that since I'm a loving, kind person, then [my sexual attraction to men] must just be... a homosexual form of love. 'I'm not lusting, I'm not dirty, I'm loving,'" he said in a 2014 interview with Dr Joseph Nicolosi.

Michael Glatze and wife Rebekah
Michael Glatze and wife Rebekah

This assumption was false, according to Michael. He wrote in a column in 2007: "Under the influence of homosexuality... lust is a virtue, there is no homosexual desire that is apart from lust."

This lust is never satisfying, he explained, because it "takes us out of our bodies, 'attaching' our psyche onto someone else's [desirable] physical form... Homosexuality causes us to forever pine for an outside physical object that we can never possess."

Michael shared with Dr Nicolosi that homosexual feelings were a lustful desire for another's masculinity, sometimes fuelled by "confusion", "terror", and the feeling, "I can't do what this guy is doing and I can't be what he is."

As the gay magazine he co-founded took off in 2005, Michael was asked to speak on the JFK Jr. Forum at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. It was after watching a videotape of his speech that Michael says, "I began to seriously doubt what I was doing with my life and influence."

Unsure of who to approach with his doubts, Michael says, "I turned to God."

"I'd developed a growing relationship with God, thanks to a debilitating bout with intestinal cramps caused by the upset stomach-inducing behaviours I'd been engaged in."

"I'd always been told that if you had doubts about the rightness of your homosexuality, which I had been having for a while but was trying to silence, that it was because you just hadn't worked through all your internalized homophobia. But that didn't feel true now," Michael explains.

As he studied the Bible, his hopes that the Bible approved of his lifestyle were shot through. He remembers, "I began to understand things I'd never known could possibly be real, such as the fact that I was leading a movement of sin and corruption.

"It became clear to me, as I really thought... and prayed about it – that homosexuality prevents us from finding our true self within. We cannot see the truth when we're blinded by homosexuality."

He explained in a 2007 article that "Homosexuality, delivered to young minds, is by its very nature pornographic. It destroys impressionable minds and confuses their developing sexuality; I did not realize this, however, until I was 30 years old."

He stepped down as co-founder of XY Magazine in 2007 in dramatic fashion through a departing note left on his work computer: "I am straight", and as this felt true, he added, "Homosexuality = death. I choose life."

From studying the Bible Michael realized that "God creates us heterosexual", as reported by the NY Times in 2011.

In his "coming out" column in 2007 How a Gay Rights Leader Became Straight, Michael explained that when "tempted to lust. I noticed it, caught it and dealt with it". Instead of dwelling on lustful feelings Michael writes that he focused "on my God-given self".

"God loves you more than any dude will ever love you," Michael shared with NY Times reporter Benoit Denizet-Lewis in 2011. "We go from guy to guy, looking for someone to love us and make us feel O.K., but God is so much better than all the other masters out there."

Michael met wife-to-be Rebekah during studies at a Wyoming Bible college in 2011. They married two years later.

"As a Christian," Michael wrote in a World News Daily blog post in 2013, "I would be a liar if I did not tell who God is, what He has done in my life and how He continues to provide for me (and now – thank God – my family) in ways more numerous than I can count."

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