There is something that strikes me as strange in the arguments we have about gay people. On the one hand it is argued that society's disapproval of gays is the source of many of the problems that gays have, such as, for instance, their higher rates of tobacco use as is argued in this article.
But on the other hand, the sort of people who are the chief source of that disapproval such as religious conservatives are themselves the object of ridicule. How can the opinions of people for whom such open contempt is a part of our culture--and I think it is fair to say that religious conservatives serve as little more than the butt of jokes in our mainstream culture--have such an impact on people?
Moreover, the same cause seems to be maintained to have different effects in similar cases. The same contempt from religious conservatives that is supposed to be the cause of self-loathing and substance abuse among young gays is at the same time, and by many of the same people, sought after and viewed as a sign of being transgressive and meaningful in the realm of art. I think it is even fair to say that the contempt of religious conservatives is advertised and seen as a selling point in the art world. Indeed, the contempt it inspirers from religious conservatives seems in some cases to be the only thing that qualifies certain efforts as art at all, such as the notorious 'Piss Christ'.
How can something so nourishing to the self-esteem of artists be so damaging to the self-esteem of gays?