At the Republican convention in Cleveland, billionaire investor and entrepreneur Peter Thiel proudly acknowledged his gay identity and urged Republicans to shift their focus away from issues of sexuality and gender, scoffing at the debate over “who gets to use which bathroom.” “Fake culture wars,” Thiel declared, “only distract us from our economic decline.

Thiel was the first speaker to publicly acknowledge his homosexuality at a republican convention. Jim Kolbe, the former Arizona congressman, spoke briefly at the 2000 convention without acknowledging his sexuality. (During Kolbe s speech, members of the Texas delegation removed their cowboy hats and prayed).

Peter Andreas Thiel (1967) is a German-American entrepreneur, venture capitalist and hedge fund manager. He co-founded PayPal with Max Levchin and Elon Musk and served as its CEO.  He also co-founded Palantir, of which he is chairman. He was the first outside investor in Facebook, with a 10.2 percent stake acquired in 2004 for $500,000, and sits on the company's board of directors. Thiel serves as president of Clarium Capital, a global macro hedge fund with $700 million in assets under management; He was ranked  number 4 on the Forbes Midas List of 2014 at $2.2 billion.

Related: Homo History 101: "Erin Go Bragh" Edition

On April 13, 2009, in the Libertarian 'Cato Unbound' blog he wrote: “… I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible.” In the same article, he also wrote, "Since 1920, the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women — two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians — have rendered the notion of “capitalist democracy” into an oxymoron."

On September 22, 2010, Thiel said at a 2010 fundraiser for the American Foundation for Equal Rights, “I believe that gay rights and marriage rights for gay people should not be a partisan issue,” and “Gay marriage can’t be a partisan issue because as long as there are partisan issues or cultural issues in this country, you’ll have trench warfare like on the western front in World War I. You’ll have lots of carnage and no progress.” 'All of the identity-related things are in my mind much more nuanced,' he said. 'I think there is a gay experience, I think there is a black experience, I think there is a woman’s experience that is meaningfully different. I also think there is a tendency to exaggerate it and turn it into an ideological category.

In a 2014 episode of "Conversations with Bill Kristol," he spoke at length on what he perceives to be a crisis in American higher education. He said: "The university system in 2014, it’s like the Catholic Church circa 1514. There’s less diversity, so you have the Dominicans and Franciscans and all these different orders, whereas the diversity between say the Harvard and Stanford political science department is considerably less. But it is sort you have this priestly class of professors that doesn’t do very much work, people are buying indulgences in the form of amassing enormous debt for the sort of the secular salvation that a diploma represents.

Thiel has supported gay rights causes such as the American Foundation for Equal Rights and GOProud.  In 2010, Thiel held Homocon 2010 for GOProud, an LGBT conservative/libertarian organization, in his New York City apartment. He invited conservative columnist Ann Coulter, who is a friend of his, to Homocon 2010 as a guest speaker. Coulter later dedicated her new book, “Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America,” to Thiel.


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