Silicon Valley billionaire, investor, co-founder of PayPal and board member at Facebook, Peter Thiel said on stage at the Republican National Convention,
“Of course every American has a unique identity.”
“I am proud to be gay. I am proud to be a Republican. But most of all I am proud to be an American.”
His declaration was met with cheers of “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!”
With this, he has become the first openly gay speaker at the RNC to speak about his sexuality. Thiel’s sexuality has been public since 2007 when Gawker outed him in a blog post.
Thiel landed one of the most important speaking slots, appearing one speaker before Ivanka Trump, who was followed by the presidential candidate, Donald Trump.
In his speech pledging support for Donald Trump, Thiel also referred to North Carolina’s controversial transgender bathroom law, addressing the audience,
“When I was a kid, the great debate was about how to defeat the Soviet Union. And we won. Now we are told that the great debate is about who gets to use which bathroom,”
“This is a distraction from our real problems. Who cares?”
The law requires people in the state to use public bathrooms based on the gender given to them at birth.
“Fake culture wars only distract us from our economic decline and nobody in this race is being honest about it except for Donald Trump,” he said.
Trump spoke out against North Carolina’s transgender bathroom law in April, but walked back his comments afterward. While Trump has been relatively accepting on gay rights, at least compared to many of his Republican party colleagues, although he’s stopped short of supporting gay marriage.
Thiel made huge stories a few months back when it was revealed that he had silently funded a legal war against Gawker backing Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit.