Read the story of a real-life “ex-gay”

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Coming out is hard enough, so it's hard to believe anyone would then bother to go back in — at least voluntarily. In this Sunday's issue of the New York Times Magazine, Benoit Denizet-Lewis profiles an old friend of his — Michael Glatze, a self-proclaimed former homosexual, who publicly renounced homosexuality a few years ago.  

In his twenties, Glatze was not just gay and out — he was an activist who started a national magazine for gay teens, with his male partner of over a decade. Not, in other words, the expected profile of an ex-gay — whom I always imagined would be a young man, stuck in some deeply religious and confining small town. Someone, in other words, who comes out and then decides to "go back in" because it's the best option available, because it's not worth the hassle to stay out in a place where you see no prospects for a happy and un-persecuted same-sex relationship. 

And that's because, of course, I don't really believe in being ex-gay. I believe gay is biological, and while your sexuality might slowly shift, it's not going to reverse or disappear. Which is what makes this profile interesting. Glatze was well educated, professionally successful, romantically fulfilled, and, for all intents and purposes, happy being gay. He had no reason, or no readily apparent one, to renounce homosexuality — no deeply religious past or parents ready to renounce him. And yet, he did it.

In a conversation with the author, Glatze says: 

"You have to understand something… I don't see people as gay anymore. I don't see you as gay. I don't see him as gay. God creates us heterosexual. We may get other ideas in our head about what we are, and I certainly did, but that doesn't mean they're the truth."

Bizarre. On one hand, the struggle for gay rights is based on the idea that you should be able to have sex with and love whomever you choose — man or woman. On the other hand, this guy's not quietly falling in love with women; he's making a case against the gay-rights movement at pretty crucial time. It's an interesting story, and hard to know exactly how to take, but certainly worth a read.