I am Michael - one man, two lives

Michael Glatze
Michael Glatze (left) and actor James Franco, who plays him in the movie.

In 1995, Michael Glatze publicly came out as a homosexual.

In 2007, Michael Glatze publicly came out as a straight man in what he describes as "the most liberating, beautiful and astonishing thing I've ever experienced in my entire life".

Michael noticed he was attracted to other guys at 14, came out at age 20, and at 22 he became editor of the first magazine of its kind: Young Gay America.

"Michael had seemingly read every gay book ever written," Michael's friend Benoit Denizet-Lewis writes in New York Times article My Ex-Gay Friend.

He describes how Michael was involved in marching gay rights rallies and urged young people not only to accept but also to celebrate their homosexuality. "I had never met anyone so sure of himself," writes Benoit.

So how does a gay activist and gay magazine editor go from rallying in the streets glorifying same-sex attraction to writing "I am straight" on his computer at work before walking out of the building?

YGA Magazine was really taking 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 he began to question what he was doing with his life and influence.

It wasn't so much that he began doubting whether he truly was a homosexual. Rather, he became completely objective to homosexuality and all it stood for.

"I struggled trying to understand what was happening to me," Michael writes in his 2007 "coming out" column How a Gay Rights Leader Became Straight.

“God came
to me when I
was confused
and lost,
alone, afraid,
and upset”
"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."

At this point, Michael already considered himself a Christian. In 2004 he had experienced a "spiritual awakening" when as a 29-year-old he experienced a series of heart palpitations and became convinced he suffered from the same heart defect that had killed his father.

After tests had ruled out his father's illness Michael thought he had escaped death and found himself "staring into the face of God".

He had turned to God then, and it was God whom he turned to when things in his life started to feel wrong.

"Soon," he says, "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 about it – and really prayed about it – that homosexuality prevents us from finding our true self within. We cannot see the truth when we're blinded by homosexuality."

Michael Glatze and Rebekah
Michael Glatze and Rebekah Fuller married in October 2013.

Michael sought to find this "truth" that had been hidden from him. He realised culture and world leaders had convinced him he was doing the right thing even though nothing felt right anymore.

To find the truth, he had to look within.

"Jesus repeatedly advises us not to trust anybody other than Him. I did what He said, knowing that the Kingdom of God does reside in the heart and mind of every man."

This is what he found: "Homosexuality, delivered to young minds, is by its very nature pornographic. It destroys impressionable minds and confuses their developing sexuality."

Once he realised homosexuality was not from God, Michael sought to eradicate it from his life and find healing.

"Every time I was tempted to lust," he writes, "I noticed it, caught it, dealt with it. I called it what it was, and then just let it disappear on its own.

"In loving ourselves fully, we no longer need anything from the 'outside' world of lustful desire, recognition from others, or physical satisfaction."

Michaels writes in his column about the challenge of healing from the wounds caused by homosexuality. He had little to no support and had to "sift through" the disapproving voices of the people he was close to. But for the first time in a long time he felt things were right, and he knew God would pull him trough.

"God came to me when I was confused and lost, alone, afraid, and upset," he writes.

"He told me – through prayer – that I had nothing at all to be afraid of, and that I was home; I just needed to do a little house cleaning in my mind."

Michael has continued to grow in his relationship with God. He is married to a woman named Rebekah and is the pastor of a small church in Wyoming.

A movie entitled I Am Michael based on his life and starring James Franco premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.

Michael's life continues to be a reflection of the words he typed on his computer screen before resigning both YGA and homosexuality: "I am straight," he wrote. "Homosexuality=Death. I choose Life."?

Please note: The movie I am Michael contains graphic scenes that may offend some viewers and this article is not to be taken as an endorsement of that movie.