"I became a Christian very suddenly (and out of freakin' nowhere) when I was 38 years old. At that time, I was working in the "Office Services" department of a large law firm. My sole co-worker in that department was a lesbian named Joan Finch. To a lot of Christians, of course -- just as with a lot of people generally -- someone's being gay or lesbian can register as a Fairly Large Deal. But I had been around gays and lesbians all my life, and had no schema for understanding a person's sexual orientation as having anything whatsoever to do with their moral character, or their status relative to God, or anything like that. Any such concept was foreign to me. All I knew was that some gays and lesbians were awful people, and some were noble, wise, kind people whom it was impossible not to love. Same as anyone else. People are people ."I'd had gay friends all of my life. Real friends. Best friends. As obnoxious as it is to stereotype, I think it's safe to say that generally, gays and lesbians have suffered for being gay and lesbian: just about all my gay friends, for instance, have countless stories about getting regularly beaten-up as kids by ... well, by just about everyone around them. Schoolmates. Siblings. Dads. Crosswalk guards. Dog-walkers. Whomever. Growing up gay or lesbian in America is just a tough row to hoe, period. If you think it's not, then ... then you're just not paying attention to life. And that gays and lesbians have generally suffered in their lives means that they are generally sensitive to the suffering of others. And generally that makes them kind, compassionate, and emotionally insightful. It makes them empathic. Which is why I have generally found gays and lesbians rewarding to hang out with. I had my big fat conversion experience at work with Joan Finch. A look of genuine concern came across her face. "Oh, no," she said. "What is it?" I said. "What's wrong?" "Now you're going to hate me." "What? What are you -- why in the world would I hate you?" "Because Christians hate gays and lesbians," said Joan. She looked heartbroken. "Don't you know that?" "They do? We do? Why?" "Because it's in the Bible," she said. "I grew up in the church. I know. Part of the whole Christian deal is to hate gays and lesbians." And then she turned away from me, so that I wouldn't see her fighting back her tears. "You must be wrong about that," I implored. I put my hand on her back. "You must be." "I'm not," she said, stepping away from me. "You wait. You'll see." John Shore: How My Lesbian Friend Reacted to My Christian Conversion Do Christians have gay friends?