(NY Times Magazine) Benoit Denizet-Lewis–My Ex-Gay Friend

One Saturday afternoon last winter, I drove north on Route 85 through the rolling rangeland of southeastern Wyoming. I was headed to a small town north of Cheyenne to see an old friend and colleague named Michael Glatze. We worked together 12 years ago at XY, a San Francisco-based national magazine for young gay men, back when we were young gay men ourselves.

Though only a year removed from Dartmouth when he arrived at XY, Michael had seemingly read every gay book ever written. While I was busy trying to secure a boyfriend, he was busy contemplating queer theory, marching in gay rights rallies and urging young people to celebrate (not just accept) their same-sex attractions. Michael was devoted to helping gay youth, and he was particularly affected by the letters the magazine received regularly from teenagers who were rejected by their religious families. “Christian fundamentalists should burn in hell!” he told me once, slamming his fist on his desk. I had never met anyone so sure of himself….

I thought about those times as I pulled my rental car into the Wyoming town where Michael now lives. A lot had happened in the decade since we last saw each other: he and Ben started a new gay magazine (Young Gay America, or Y.G.A.); they traveled the country for a documentary about gay teenagers; and Michael was fast becoming the leading voice for gay youth until the day, in July 2007, when he announced that he was no longer gay….

Read it all.


Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Men, Other Churches, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

4 comments on “(NY Times Magazine) Benoit Denizet-Lewis–My Ex-Gay Friend

  1. David Wilson says:

    An amazingly balanced story and even more amazing is that the NYT published it.

  2. Robert Lundy says:

    “Homosexuality is a cage in which you are trapped in an endless cycle of constantly wanting more — sexually — that you can never actually receive, constantly full of emptiness, trying to justify your twisted actions by politics and ‘feel good’ language.”

  3. nwlayman says:

    This will be received like an algebra paper where someone tried to divide by zero.

  4. Teatime2 says:

    Very interesting read. Both Michael and Ben have some very important things to say. Yes, I think many young people get caught up in movements and ideas through which they explore their personhood and beliefs. Personally, I agree — overly fundamentalist Christianity disturbs me as much as overly fundamentalist gay activism. There is a rigidity and “true believer” group dynamic in both that appeals to the lost and searching and demands strict conformity to the leaders’ ideals in exchange for a sense of belonging and acceptance. I’ve seen vulnerable youth throw themselves into both of these ideologies and emerge disillusioned and broken.

    i believe that God created us as unique individuals with so many gifts and possibilities and opportunities to serve Him and bring forth His Kingdom. And I do believe that this scares society, which tries to enslave people from a young age to conform so as to control. The problem with acquiescing to societal conformity is that societal norms change; depending on them to define one’s personhood and value can be damaging.

    And so rather than acknowledging that humans are individuals, created in the image and likeness of God, we now have this whole fixation on “gender.” Sorry, but WTH?! We have idiots in Canada trying to raise a “genderless” baby, idiots telling teens that there are many genders, they’re probably not fixed and you can understandably float from one gender to another. In other words, society is trying to make gender and sexual expressioni the core of our identity. WHY? In this brave, new world, is the rejection of God and a soul being supplanted by “gender awareness?”

    I think that the bottom line is this: In an increasingly confusing and fast-changing world, people are looking for explanations. In a world with very conflicting views and treatment of women, a world that has emasculated men in some countries and turned them into brutal terrorists in others, and a world that sexualizes children while also wanting to strip them of any gender identity, there has emerged deep insecurity. People feel alone as individuals and will give up individual thought to feel embraced by a group. These groups struggle to legitimize themselves through all of these theories and operate as if the theories are proven facts and legitimate ways to live.

    Ironically, these theorists and fringe groups fear authentic Christianity the most because only that offers real freedom and loves and values each person as being created in the image of God and as being redeemed by the sacrifice of Jesus. My God, what a wondrous place the world could be if only everyone believed that! That you are loved, whether you are single or coupled, poor or rich, effeminate or masculine, creative or logical, no matter what clothes you wear or what car you drive. It has nothing to do with “gender” and everything to do with being God’s beloved creation.

    If everyone believed that, the power of these ridiculous theories and these movements would vanish. All would have an equal dignity. No one would have to fight for “rights” or power or have to prove himself. I hope that Michael’s search leads him to this great awareness.