Controversial gay billionare and Donald Trump supporter Peter Thiel, speaking at the National Press Club today, denounced an Advocate commentary piece and other criticisms of his stances as examples of "intolerance" on the part of LGBT people and progressives in general.
"This intolerance has taken on some bizarre forms," he said. "The Advocate, a magazine which once praised me as a 'gay innovator,' even published an article saying that as of now I am, and I quote, 'not a gay man,' because I don't agree with their politics. The lie behind the buzzword of 'diversity' could not be made more clear: If you don't conform, then you don't count as 'diverse,' no matter what your personal background."
Thiel was referring to a recent commentary on The Advocate's website by historian Jim Downs. "By the logic of gay liberation, Thiel is an example of a man who has sex with other men, but not a gay man," Downs wrote. "Because he does not embrace the struggle of people to embrace their distinctive identity."
Commentary pieces, however, represent only the views of the writer, not the entire publication. Thiel, the cofounder of PayPal and an early investor in Facebook, was indeed one of several people honored as innovators by The Advocate in 2011, and he was interviewed by the publication as well.
Also in the National Press Club appearance in Washington, D.C., Thiel once again defended his backing of Donald Trump for president. Thiel had addressed the Republican National Convention in support of Trump this summer.
This month Thiel donated more than $1 million to Trump's presidential campaign. During his speech, Thiel acknowledged that Trump has made "offensive and inappropriate" comments, but says the candidate shouldn't be judged by them. Instead, Trump "points toward a new Republican Party beyond the dogmas of Reaganism," said Thiel.
"He points even beyond the remaking of one party to a new American politics that overcomes denial, rejects bubble thinking, and reckons with reality," Thiel said. "When the distracting spectacles of this election season are forgotten and the history of our time is written, the only important question will be whether or not that new politics came too late."