There are some things you can’t hide, like skin color or sex. But for those personal characteristics, intrinsic or otherwise, that you can hide, I recommend doing so. Don’t disclose sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, etc. if you can help it. If you have a clearly ethnic (or ethnic-sounding) first name but a more plain last name, for example, then you may consider putting your first and middle initials on your resume and cover letter rather than spell your names out.
These are unfortunate but sometimes necessary measures some candidates must utilize in order to successfully make it through the application process. Although Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) guidelines legally prohibit companies from rejecting applications based on protected classes (race, sex, religious beliefs, etc.), some bigoted hiring managers disregard these guidelines in practice. They’re able to do so because it’s nearly impossible to file a discrimination claim (as a job-seeker) unless the company is foolish enough to have documented their discriminatory hiring practices in writing. Chances are, they probably aren’t.
Photo by: Leon Riskin via a Create Commons attribution license