I wouldn't say I've gone so far as to change someone's whole opinion on something. That's a little bit harder to process, I think, but I have undoubtedly encountered something that has never happened to me before.
Growing up, I never had a problem with my sexuality. I was lucky enough to be born into a family which was extremely open-minded and accepting of anything considered outside of the box. To add to, the high school I went to was fairly open, albeit a few years before no one was out of the closet except two people perhaps. Overall, I was never ridiculed. I have many friends, people who don't base me on my sexuality and never questioned it. (Well, unless the questions were counted about what my type was and so on.)
In my current job, I'm in a field with people who are a bit unknown. I didn't grow up here, and I've met a few characters. I obtained the job by knowing the owner, but I don't think that was the whole reason for getting the job. Anyway, we're a small work force, containing only five people, including myself. I work with different characters--one's a hard pill head, one is a religious, hardworking woman, one is a hippie, and the last is a criminal with violent tendencies (supposedly).
The last has become one of the best people to work with, and unlike the others, I have hung out with him outside of work. When we first met, my impression of him wasn't too high: he talked about fighting and spoke arrogantly. Also, he started a conversation on gay people during one of our shifts, proceeding to claim he was homophobic towards the idea of two men together. After this, he asked if I was gay and offended by his opinion. I told him, yes, I am gay, but as for his opinion.... I was there to work, not change his way of thinking.
Growing up in the south and witnessing homophobic acts and being around open-minded individuals, I've come to realize that both exist with or without reason. I would love for everyone to be at least open-minded, but I understand it's a lot to ask. There's too much religious influence, as well as old fashioned ways of thinking. Nonetheless, I do still feel a little helpless when someone wants to bash part of my lifestyle. (I say part because being gay shouldn't be a whole lifestyle.)
Anyway, I've come to be closer with this individual. I've learned a lot about him, although I take some of his words with a grain of salt. (His stories can come out exaggerated, but I give him credit on certain things.) Recently, while at work, I was standing there, watching him cook. At random, he said thank you. I was confused, wondering if I'd done something that morning to help make things easier for him in the kitchen or something, but when I asked why, I received a surprising answer.
He was thanking me because he never thought he'd ever have a gay friend.
I was truly touched, moved beyond words. I realized that I probably hadn't changed his whole point of view on homosexuals, but he was now considering me a friend, someone he could rely on. As he continued to speak, he said he came to realize that I was more of a person, and after a while, he'd stopped thinking about how I was a lesbian and something more instead. I laughed. That's all any gay person wants the world to believe.
We're people, too--we fall in love, we fight, we struggle, we cry, we get angry, and we die. Nothing makes us more or less special than a heterosexual. It's not about special rights, it's about equal rights.
I know that he's probably still hesitant on the thoughts of gays, but at least he was able to accept me into his life, in whatever form or fashion it has been in. I've changed someone, even just a little.