Anyway, with people like Michael Glatze, I don't know what to think. When I hear about ex-gays now, it is usually someone who 'struggled' with their same sex attractions and because of their religious convictions, cannot reconcile their natural inclinations with their faith. They then claim the label of 'ex-gay,' to prove to the world they have overcome their 'struggle,' though privately it never truly goes away.
Michael didn’t begin to question his life path, he told me, until a health scare in 2004 that led to what he calls his “spiritual awakening.” That year, when Michael was 29, he experienced a series of heart palpitations and became convinced that he suffered from the same congenital heart defect that killed his father when Michael was 13. (Michael lost both his parents young; his mother died of breast cancer when he was 19.) After tests eventually ruled out his father’s illness, Michael felt that he had escaped death and found himself staring “into the face of God.”If I had to come to any conclusion, I think the health 'scare' really freaked him out. He was so confident in his 'gayness' before, I wonder if that flash of mortality made him want to find something more lasting, more secure. Eventually that led him to fundamental Christianity, the kind whose adherents can live nothing but their own interpretation, with no space for an outside view.
I'm too young to remember, but didn't the first crop of ex-gays come out (or should I say go back in) during the first HIV/AIDS scare? Nothing can make you re-think your life, like a close touch with death, and fear can be a very powerful motivator.
P.S. Another thought I had about this piece has to go with the mental health of those who feel they must struggle with their sexuality. I feel like counseling is an important part of the coming out processes, or just even understanding yourself better. This counseling has been hijacked by those who claim to be counseling those with same-sex attractions, and can actually help people out of them. (See boxturtlebulletin.com for a lot more about this myth). I actually had a counselor whose creed entailed not encouraging any positive feelings toward affirmation in a gay identity, but encouraging any opposing feeling, either straighthood or anti-gay feelings (American Association of Christian Counselors). Those seeking counsel, including religious counsel, should know that God loves them, no matter who they are, who they love, or how they feel, and should be free to come to any conclusion they so desire without any influence of religious bias (one way or another). Mental health is more important. Here's a good follow up article by the New York Times.