CLEVELAND — At his speech on Thursday at the 2016 Republican National Convention, Donald Trump supporter and Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel made a declaration that would seem nearly boring in liberal circles: He declared that he’s proudly gay. But at the Republican convention, this can be risky — Republicans, after all, aren’t known for their warmth to LGBTQ people.
But when Thiel said he was gay, the crowd applauded. Now, the big applause came after he said that he’s also a Republican and an American. But it’s still something, I guess.
"I am proud to be gay," Thiel said, to rising applause. "I am proud to be a Republican. But most of all, I am proud to be an American."
The crowd’s reaction does not, however, mean that Republicans have progressed on gay rights or LGBTQ issues more broadly. Despite some LGBTQ advocates’ hopes that the party would drop these types of battles after losing on same-sex marriage, the 2016 platform includes continued opposition to marriage equality, support for North Carolina’s anti-transgender bathroom law, support for anti-LGBTQ conversion therapy, and a tacit condemnation of same-sex parents.
But at least the crowd didn’t boo an openly gay man.