There are all sorts of strands that might be pulled out of this exchange: does JSP now represent the establishment and is the young comedian challenging that? Is there a difference in attitude towards the way we ought to behave in art galleries? I once went to an exhibition where we were actively encouraged to talk and discuss the art with other visitors to the gallery. It felt odd, disrespectful, naughty even, to breaking the reverent silence I was more familiar with. For me, the key part of this exchange was the statement that Katherine Ryan made: “That might be the only way her fans will ever get to see those pictures.” There are two aspects to this. First of all, the fans that see those photos will be exposed to an aspect of culture which they might never get to see firsthand. Secondly, it might spark off an interest and curiosity in some which means that they will explore art further and may themselves travel to the Louvre to see the paintings for themselves. Having someone like Beyonce show them this world will give an endorsement and legitimacy to it that might otherwise be lacking. This is what role models can do.
Every year, we give out hundreds of postcards, badges and lovehearts at Pride and other events. We bear witness to our faith with our “God loves LGBT” T-shirts and our friendly exchanges with those that we meet. We have a website, Facebook page and Twitter account. The vast majority who see us or visit us online will never walk through the doors of our church, or any other. What we are doing is showing them what church looks like, what God looks like. At the very least, people know that there is more to church than what they have previously heard or experienced. At best, it might start a relationship with God or re-kindle a faith. When we are the hands and feet of Christ in the queer community, we too show people something that they might not otherwise see.