PayPal founder Peter Thiel became the first gay person to openly discuss his sexuality in a speech a Republican National Convention when he spoke to the gathering Thursday in Cleveland.
"I am proud to be gay. I am proud to be a Republican,” Thiel told the crowd, to applause. “But most of all, I am proud to be an American."
Thiel, a hedge fund manager and venture capitalist, said — also to applause — that such issues like the fight over transgender bathrooms distract from real issues facing the country. He acknowledged that his party has yet to fully embrace the LGBT community.
“I don’t pretend to agree with every plank in our party’s platform,” Thiel said.
The Republican platform includes an endorsement for conversion therapy, a purported “treatment” for homosexuality that claims to convert someone to a heterosexual. The party has also yet to fully embrace gay marriage, which is legal nationwide.