Michael Glatze, writer for the (now shuttered) gay twink magazine XY and the short-lived publication Young Gay America who went "ex-gay" and became a poster boy for that movement, marrying a woman in 2013, sat down for an interview with vlogger Jake Reynolds following the screening of the new movie, I Am Michael at Sundance.
I Am Michael is based on the Benoit Denizet-Lewis NYT article "My Ex-Gay Friend". You can read it here.
Glatze (played by James Franco in the film) appeared thrilled with his portrayal and told Reynolds that it is a turning point in his life:
"Life is starting up again. It's almost like a new life. I thank James Franco for that. I did. I sent an email for him and I said 'thank you so much for your interest in this project' because it has been the spark to a gigantic healing process for so many people in my world, and now we can rejoin the rest of the world."
For those who are not familiar with Glatze's story this requires a bit of context.
Wayne Besen, founder of Truth Wins Out, an organization that has devoted much time to exposing the "ex-gay" myth, wrote about Glatze's story in 2013:
Mr. Glatze worked for XY Magazine and was the co-founder of a short-lived LGBT teenie-bopper mag, Young Gay America. Suddenly, he broke up with his boyfriend and had what appeared to be a nervous breakdown, where he had severe panic attacks about dying. During these disturbing episodes, he renounced his sexual orientation and temporarily converted to Mormonism. Though he had dived into the Mormon faith with gusto, he just as quixotically abandoned this faith to become an outspoken fundamentalist Christian...
...He began writing incendiary op-eds for World Net Daily where he claimed to be “repulsed by homosexuality.” He appeared on Porno Pete LaBarbera’s radio show. However, his time on the “ex-gay” circuit was short-lived and he proved to be an incompetent spokesperson. His columns were so beyond the pale, that he alienated long-time “ex-gay” activists. Eventually, Glatze was drummed out of the “ex-gay” industry after a meltdown. His demise came after he wrote a racist rant against president Barack Obama on his blog...
Franco this week reacted to the experience of meeting Glatze for the first time and said that Glatze told him the film was "healing" as well.
"In a way, we had to show to him we were going to have a very even-handed, non-judgmental approach, but we also had to say to ourselves, 'We’re not telling this story just to make Michael happy, we’re telling the story to get both sides.' The best we could do was say to him, 'We have good intentions. We’re not going to crucify or judge you but we also need to tell the story from the other side as well as the side you’re on now.'"
However, there is only one side to the "ex-gay" story, and if the film (which I have not seen but was reviewed by our film critic here) presents being "ex-gay" as a valid option in life, it will certainly do a disservice to all of the young gay people who have been irreparably damaged by so called "conversion therapy", "ex-gay" ministries, and so on. As time goes by, former "ex-gays" and proponents (John Paulk, Randy Thomas, Robert Spitzer, and James Stabile, and more) continue to come out and reveal that being "ex-gay" is a damaging, damaging myth.
In the new interview, Glatze is asked what he would say to the gay youth who have said they were hurt and felt betrayed by Glatze's renunciation of his identity:
"I'm sorry, and that is one of the things I would say to anyone who has been hurt by any of the words that have come through my mouth or typed out on a computer screen...and even through video is that I'm sorry for any of the pain that I have caused. I literally feel that and have been dealing with that over the past really three or four years especially. It has just been a lot of the process of healing for me - we've been going through that together - and just growing in what the Buddhist teacher kind of observed was missing in me at that time was compassion...If there (are) amends to be made then to make those amends and not offend anyone on either side. We've got to be very careful with that."
Watch the interview, AFTER THE JUMP...