Michael Glatze was gay. Really, really gay. The Daily Beast wants to settle that firmly before looking at a film on his life.
At least before dropping the bomb on Glatze's conversion to Christianity:
He was serving as the managing editor of XY magazine, a popular gay San Francisco-based publication that dispensed invaluable advice to men on how to survive young and gay. He was fascinated by queer theory and disturbed by Christian fundamentalism. He was in a loving relationship with fellow XY editor, Benjie Nycum. On the weekends, the two would go out to raves and enjoyed being gay and liberated. They even shared a home with a third man they’d picked up during a brief stay in Nova Scotia. Glatze and Nycum eventually left XY and started the non-profit Young Gay America, aimed at shaping the lives of gay youths for the better, before launching the magazine Young Gay America (YGA), which was awarded the National Role Model Award from the gay organization Equality Forum. The two lovers toured the country filming Jim In Bold, billed as the first major documentary to tackle the suicide epidemic among gay teens.
And then—out of the blue—Glatze became a born again Christian and renounced his homosexuality.
If only the Beast showed as much interest in Glatze's new life as a Christian -- a pastor, no less, as numerous websites report.
"Gay No More: The Story of Michael Glatze" is pegged on the premiere of the biopic I Am Michael, at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. The Beast gets interview time with director Justin Kelly and actor James Franco, who plays the title role. And it digs rather deep into clips.
I should say upfront that the article is not, well, beastly toward Glatze. It resists stereotyping and (most) pigeonholing, probably because the interviewees did.
Here's an impressive quote by Kelly:
[S]ome people have been afraid of the movie, or have questioned why we’d give him a voice. But the film is about so much more than gay men becoming straight. It’s about identity, why we label one another, why people want to be a part of a group, and the power of belief.”
The Beast weaves in and out of the film itself, dealing sometimes with the "making of," sometimes with Franco's record of playing gays, sometimes directly with Glatze's life. But after all those details about Glatze's gay lifestyle, the story gets fuzzy around the point of his s conversion. First there's a health scare about his heart. Then he "decides to turn to Jesus and publicly renounces his homosexuality via a series of problematic articles and interviews."
Yes, it's that abrupt. The Beast suddenly shifts to those "problematic articles and interviews," without trying to explain Glatze's change of heart.
Then the Beast quotes Glatze from his personal blog in 2008: “Have I mentioned lately how utterly disgusting Obama is? And, yes, it’s because he’s black. God, help us all.”
Now, that is truly problematic, and it deserves close attention. Unfortunately, the blog has expired, and the quote survives only on other sites. On one of them, Glatze tells a blogger that it was a sarcastic rant at political correctness. That explanation is itself problematic, but it didn’t get into the Beast article.
The closest anyone comes to pulling all of this together is director Kelly. He says Glatze "can be a bit of an extremist. When he was gay he had to be a gay activist, and when he worked at a magazine he had to start his own magazine. So when he first became Christian and straight he wrote a lot of really hateful stuff."
It's possible, and that's very diplomatic of Kelly. But it would have been nice for the Beast to ask Glatze himself. He's reportedly withdrawn from such public statements. But there is no indication the newspaper tried to reach him.
Update: Glatze e-mailed us confirming the lack of attention: "The Daily Beast did not contact me, and I would have loved to have been contacted -- especially for an article supposedly telling 'the story of' ... me."
Instead, it settles for quoting Franco quoting Glatze, with commentary:
The real-life Glatze, meanwhile, was on hand at Sundance to see the film, and seemed to take it in stride.
“He thanked all of us, and it seemed like the movie was already—and will continue to be—a tool to help him heal,” Franco says. “I think this movie has shown him a way to still be the person he wants to be today without destroying the person he was before.”
All told, the feature on I Am Michael is fairly gentle and makes some effort at fairness. But understanding and/or interest clearly flags when it comes to his spiritual rebirth. And when the headline reads "Gay No More," shouldn't that have been a major emphasis?