I am not gay or have a tattoo, which is why I sport a beard.

In the recent book "Rise of the Creative Class", the author makes an observation about a large swath of people called the "creative class" - one tool members of the creative class use to determine if a city/place is welcoming of creative people is if that city/place welcomes the LGBT community.  

I find with my friends when we talk about places that we have been to we are very up on places that welcome LGBT community members even if we ourselves are not LGBT.  If the city/place is open to LGBT then the city/place is open to diversity and we are not expected to fit into a mold.  LGBT acceptance is a barometer for my peers to determine the diversity and openness to unique people and alternate thinking.  

As a white Anglo Protestant male living in the belt buckle of the "Bible Belt", it is very hard for me to give off the vibe of openness to creative thinking and diversity.  Many assume I am Republican and vote with a gun in my hand while on my way to protest abortion and "Big government".  Which may or may not be true, but another assumption that is made is that I am anti-LGBT.  In fact when I share I am a pastor in Texas that last assumption is very strong.

If it is assumed that I am anti-LGBT then the diversity barometer drops substantially.  People clam up and begin to pull out of the conversation.

There are a number of ways I have discovered that one can overcome the assumption that I am not open to creative/alternate thinking or diversity.  The first is to actually self identify as LGBT.  I am not any of those.  

The next best thing for people who are not LGBT and who are open to alternate thinking and diversity to do is to get a tattoo.  I do not have a tattoo as I am totally afraid of physical pain that comes at the end of a needle.

Thus I sport a beard.  

The facial hair is the last sort of bastion for us WASP sorts to have as an outward and visible sign to people that we are open to diversity and alternate thinking.  This is not always the case but if you see a guy with facial hair that is ungroomed then you can hedge your bets they are open to diversity and alternate thinking.  

Look at the white guys who are notorious for ungroomed facial hair, we might see a trend of people who are open to alternate thinking and diversity:

Youth ministers.
Dungeon and Dragon players.
Movie stars who adopt African children.