I once got hit with a multi-page job application that included a section for describing "community and public service activities." I held nothing back. The grandmotherly receptionist pored over my responses before deciding that I'd made the cut and was worthy of a second interview. With a warm and sincere smile she told me I'd make an "excellent candidate." I got the gig.
And the workplace turned out to be one of those which contains a close-knit, "like family" group of people. We labored, played, celebrated, and mourned together. When I reluctantly left the position due to relocating I was given a huge going-away pool party. All this was before any EEO laws were in place for "people like us." That receptionist (who did turn out to be a grandmother) had been able to "just tell" not that I was Gay but that I'd be a good fit for the job. If everyone could be that objective...you know the rest.
The reality is, not everyone can be that objective. A few years down the line, I was given a similarly detailed application form and I stayed totally honest. As luck would have it, the dress code of the company was "business casual." The HR guy was a jovial, back-slapping type who was wearing a sweatshirt repping his college on the day of my interview. Not only had I grown up in the city the college is in, my dad had earned a degree from that school. So, naturally I brought this up and we yakked about it for some time. All was progressing the same way it always has with straight White men: find common ground and you're in without breaking a sweat. With a broad grin and hearty handshake, my new BFF told me he'd need to review my application "as a formality" and gave me a big wink as I left. Three weeks passed. I called him up to ask about the status of my application. He began stammering - I could picture him blushing deep red. "Ummmm, errrrr, ahhhh....we, uh, ended up finding someone in-house; uh, yeah, we found someone in-house." I took a deep breath to keep from giving him the cussing out he deserved, since it wouldn't've fazed him. With a cold "Your loss, buddy" I hung up.
EEO laws don't prevent prejudiced a-holes from using other excuses to not hire someone. Wouldn't you rather have all your cards on the table in the very beginning? I'm just as glad I didn't get hired at that second job if my experience with their HR guy reflected the environment there.