For the first time in 16 years, an openly gay speaker will take the stage at the GOP National Convention. Peter Theil, the co-founder of PayPal, is set to address the crowd, following in the footsteps of only two other gay speakers who have ever been included in GOP convention activities.
Theil is not without controversy himself. He was outed not by choice by Gawker, which resulted in a lawsuit and eventually led to the site’s bankruptcy.
“I’ve long said that were he to become the nominee, Donald Trump would be the most pro-gay candidate the Republican Party has ever had,” said president of the Log Cabin Republicans, Gregory T. Angelo. “Thiel’s role as an official speaker at the RNC continues to bolster that assertion.”
“It’s a huge breakthrough,” said Chris Barron, a gay rights advocate who also an outspoken conservative. “It is a reminder ― once again ― that Donald Trump is by far the most gay-friendly nominee of the Republican Party ever.”
It’s surprising that many feel that Trump is LGBT friendly considering Mike Pence was recently announced as his running mate. We know Governor Pence for his anti-LGBT stance, highlighted by signing Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law.
“Honestly, celebrating something like [Thiel’s speech] as a giant step forward is like praising a second-grade reading level when a student should have graduated from college by now. It’s all relative. There’s a very low bar for measurable progress,” said Jimmy LaSalvia, a gay rights advocate who used to be a Republican but has since left the party. “Of course, the platform, the statement of Trump’s and the GOP’s vision for our country sends a very different message.”