Paypal co-founder, Peter Thiel, spoke in support of Trump at the Republican National Convention tonight. He surprised the crowd by openly stating that he was “proud to be gay.” It has been 16 years since the last openly gay person has spoken at a GOP Convention.
Thiel highlighted in his speech the huge bathroom debate that is happening across the United States as well. “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,” he said. “This is a distraction from our real problems. Who cares? 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.”
Surprisingly, his statement was not met with boos or silence. In fact, he was met with a standing ovation and cheers of “USA! USA!”
What does this mean? Well, I think we can breathe a sigh of relief that he wasn’t jeered off the stage, and that LGBT young men and women watching his speech, saw a concrete example of the progress this country is making, even in the close-minded Republican Party.
But again, what does this reaction to Thiel’s speech actually mean in reality? Does is mean that same sex marriage will be supported in the future by the GOP? That laws dictating which bathroom people can use will now be set aside in order to focus on real problems? Unfortunately, the answer is likely no, but only time will tell what is empty rhetoric and who will stand up for what is right.