I spent my youth in a church that taught me homosexuality was wrong. It was the worst sin of all. All homosexuals were going to hell.

The worst thing someone could think about you was that you might be gay. In my high school, run by a Southern Baptist church, boys went to ridiculous lengths to appear tough and masculine. That meant beating up other boys who weren’t manly enough. And the biggest bashers turned out later to be… Well, you can guess.

When I grew up, I lived and worked around gay people and discovered nothing was wrong with them. They weren’t different from me. It struck me as silly that they’d go to hell just for being who they were. And then later, I stopped believing in hell anyway.

And I can’t think of anything less threatening than a man wearing women’s clothing. I don’t get the hateful hysteria that someone wearing feminine clothes might read a book to a kid. Why that sends fearful people into paroxysms of threats and violence is beyond me.

When I worked at KBIG in the early 2000s, we did a lot of live shows at gay clubs. I found I much preferred them over the “straight” places. They were always more relaxed, more fun, with much less hassle. I was never harassed, attacked, or threatened by anyone at a gay club.

The only threats came from homophobes.

We were standing outside a club one evening before a show. Some young men drove by in a car and threw glass bottles at us, screaming homophobic insults as they sped away. So brave.

If anyone’s going to hell, it’s got to be people filled with that much hate. So much hate that they’d commit violence. People who would throw bottles. Burn nightclubs. Shoot strangers.