The Republican Party is not known for liberal views on LGBTQ rights, but this did not stop tech billionaire Peter Thiel from taking to the podium at the Republican National Convention (RNC) to announce that he is gay and a proud Republican.
Thiel was one of the biggest names from the Silicon Valley to attend the RNC in support of Donald Trump. The PayPal co-founder made history as the first Republican to use the GOP stage to make a statement of this kind.
"Every American has a unique identity," Thiel told the crowd at Quicken Loans Arena. "I am proud to be gay. I am proud to be a Republican. But, most of all, I am proud to be an American," he said to a loud round of applause and cheering, despite the party's long-standing position on LGBTQ issues leaning towards conservative.
The GOP has been vocal about its opposition on same-sex marriage, the transgender bathroom law, and has condemned the idea of same-sex parents. Its speakers have also endorsed the medically discredited practice of "conversion therapy".
Thiel, however, seemed unconcerned about these issues. "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 48-year-old who claimed the US needed a non-politician like Trump to end its "stupid wars" and "broken economy", was in the limelight earlier this year when he confirmed that he had been financing Hulk Hogan's lawsuit against Gawker Media over the release of a sex tape.
In response to his revelation in May, Gawker founder Nick Denton published and open letter slamming Thiel for being "vindictive" and targeting the media house for a 2007 article headlined 'Peter Thiel is totally gay, people.'