About 6 or 7 years ago, before or very early on in my transition, I went to a queer conference at Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at the City University of New York. Between lectures I was standing alone in the lobby and a older butch dyke walked up to me. We had never met, but I had seen her at a conference I had attended previously. She looked at me, perhaps made a little small talk, and told me she had something for me. She asked for my address.
A month or so later a box arrived in the mail. It was full of neck ties and a short note that said something to the effect of "I thought you might like these." No name, no return address. This small gesture may have simply been an attempt on this butches part to clean out her closet, but to me it was the act of a queer mentor I had never had before. It was someone taking me aside, telling me they knew what it was like, and offering a bit of hope the only way she knew how.
I am wearing one of those ties today. I still have no idea who this woman is, but I think about her every time I open my closet. We never know where our mentors will come from, and now, as I grow a little older, I think about how I never know whose life I am going to touch. I have a lot of ties I don't need and I am sure that young queer is out there. If it's you, let me know.