I'll be starting with a completely unscientific and possibly offensive observation.
I had heard once that the percentage of the population that identifies as queer (and at the time it was "gay", but I think "queer" works better here) was ten percent. The last data I saw estimated it was closer to four percent, but I had ten in mind for a long time. However, among professional entertainers - especially dancers and figure skaters - that percentage seemed much higher, with maybe as many as fifty percent among the men. However yet again, that did not seem to be the case with the Russians, where there were many more straight men performing.
Other things I have read don't really indicate that Russian society is more accepting of homosexuality, so I didn't think that was the reason. It does seem possible that the Russian concept of masculinity is better at including artistic expression. Honestly, that doesn't require being that open-minded, because there is a lot of strength and athleticism involved in those pursuits.
My point in even mentioning this is that it seems likely that the demands of masculinity - at least in US culture - can discourage many boys from pursuing various artistic paths. There are probably many who could have been really great, and it would have been satisfying for them and edifying for the people who got to see them perform, but the possibilities get discarded, because it's for sissies.
This is where I write about Suzanne Pharr's Homophobia: A Weapon of Sexism.
A couple of things stood out early. Part of her early work was with domestic violence. Many of the battered women had been called "lesbians" by their batterers. Often they were not lesbians, but the term was used to justify the beatings.
Pharr started giving workshops on homophobia for both straight and lesbian women, and it was energizing for all of them. She asked them to visualize what the world would be like without homophobia, and it was huge for them. Part of that is that when you are surrounded by domestic crisis, so much time is spent in responding to damage that you don't get to spend a lot of time on vision. And a big part of it was just imagining taking away those restraints.
By imagining a world without homophobia, they were able to envision a world where children won't be labeled, or pushed into one direction or another. That would free children up to realize their potential. They imagined a world where people could be more affectionate - not just with partners, but with all kinds of relationships because you don't have to worry about it being misconstrued and getting you harmfully labeled. Women will be able to work any job without being called masculine. There will be less violence because men will not need to prove their manhood. People will be able to wear whatever they want.
That's one thing that people often seem to miss about social justice work. Feminism makes things better for men. Anti-racism work succeeding makes a better world for white people. Eliminating homophobia makes a better world for straight people. As important as it is to realize that marginalized people suffer more, the bigotry isn't good for anyone.
Some of my favorite male dancers have been straight, so going back to the opening, I have to admire them for persisting. I am sure there was name-calling and mockery, but they had gifts, and they developed them and shared them. That is great, and art is important.
Think about it beyond that. What do we lose by putting up barriers? Which mind that could have figured out a new technique for fighting cancer, or harnessing solar for cars, or cleaning up the oceans, was discouraged and discarded? If we weren't so consistently comfortable with marginalizing other people, pollution and disease wouldn't be allowed to take the toll they have even without new technologies.
If we want a better world, it will start with valuing each other. Each and every other one.