I can't believe that it makes any difference to anyone except the folk who only listen to "christian rock" (whatever that is) and, no doubt a perfomer in that genre would think twice before coming out.
I think the music industry as a whole (including music fans) have become a hell of a lot more accepting and understanding, which is rad.
Don't get me wrong, there's still idiots around - but things are getting better.
Heard of the band "Against Me!"? They're a fairly well known punk band from Gainesville. Their lead singer came out as a transexual female around two years ago in a Rolling Stone feature - in the time since the support they have received is amazing, especially coming from a music scene which ironically hasn't been the most accepting of LBGT issues, people in the past. Their newest album is called "Transgender Dysphoria Blues" and it's incredible, I recommend it highly.
As others have mentioned, it probably depends on genre. Ray Boltz was a successful Christian music artist before coming out. However, he did "retire" from the Christian music industry a few years before he came out. So it's difficult to say how it has affected him. I doubt he could return at the level he was before retirement.
This thread made me think of the glam rock scene in the 70s and the androgyny that was rampant. David Bowie being the perfect example. I know that turned off some of my friends back then, but overall it didn't affect his popularity much. And that was 40 years ago!
Steve Grand is an independent gay singer/songwriter. BuzzFeed billed him as the first out gay country singer (of course, Chely Wright had come out before). Steve's music videos are on YouTube and you can find his "All-American Boy" and "Stay" singles on Spotify.
Jennifer Knapp was a popular CCM artist who disappeared from the music scene for a few years then came out. She launched a new album "Letting Go" that was released in 2010. I saw her play many years ago and loved her concert. While I haven't seen her for a few years, I'd totally support her if she came to my hometown regardless of my faith (I'm a Christian).
As a gay woman, I think the most important thing at this time is to have visibility in the industry. Music is meant to inspire & give other humans the feeling that they aren't alone. It is important to me that my music reflects that. When I was coming out, I didn't see any lesbian women in pop culture who I could relate to, and it was incredibly isolating! I think we are finally at a point in time where the industry might accept a fully gay pop musician. My last single was written with the intention of inspiring people to be exactly who they are, out and proud!
I believe so. They become even more popular within people of the teen generation because we can relate to them! Most traditional people tend to shut them out, making them lose perception with the older generations.
It depends. The sad thing that a lot of LGBT bands don't have much support from their own community, the best example being Semi-Precious Weapons who lost a lot of money opening for Lady Gaga. Many gays are rather prepared to spend their money on female Divas that are strongly influenced by the gay scene (Gaga herself said that a lot of her inspiration comes from drag queens) than actual gay bands. However, there have never been as many openly gay mainstream musicians as today. Whether their music represents a gay lifestyle is another thing. George Michael was fine as long as the sexual aspects were not that obvious. Sam Smith or Elton John otoh have a more or less asexual image.