I've spent the past two days in training for my new job. It's the equivalent of a DMV position, but it's money with good hours. About thirty people were in my training class, ranging 20 through 50 with the majority in their early 30's. Only four guys were there and one flamer aside from myself, a soft butch who completely ignored me. When we all introduced ourselves to the class, one of the guys immediately said he's a preacher. He looks like he's about 34, overdressed with a pencil-thin mustache and he would not shut up the entire first day. During our lunchbreak, he blathered to me about how he's a liberal preacher who embraces straight and gay because our Lord loves everyone and we should thank him for making us all so different with his Word and everything. Good for you, you're still a windbag. Most of the others adored him because, well, he's a preacher in a roomful of stereotypical southern baptists displaced in Chicago and that gave him license to brag. Today, though, he was much quieter and respectful of everyone.
While the trainer FINALLY showed us the actual computer program we would be using to fill out forms for applicants, I rolled my eyes to myself as the "male/female" dropdown menu appeared. Surprisingly, "Undeclared" was the third option! SWEET!!!! Exasperated smirks and even laughter snaked through my coworkers, though, as they tried to imagine who could possibly be "undeclared." The trainer calmly explained, "Well, sometimes someone who you can't tell will come to you and it would be really rude to ask." It was good that she explained it in this way, but the giggles took a while to die down. I slyly looked around at my peers' faces and I found the preacher, silent, giving me a knowing, sympathetic and supportive look. The one person in the room who read me, how accurately I'll never know, and realized the disrespect of our flabbergasted coworkers.
You never know where support, however silent and momentary, will come from.