Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel is not gay, a Connecticut College history professor argued, because he endorsed GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump and does not "embrace the struggle" of gay people.
In a commentary for the gay magazine "The Advocate," titled "Peter Thiel Shows Us There's a Difference Between Gay Sex and Gay," Jim Downs argued the difference is the politics of gay liberation.
"Since the Paleolithic Age, people have had sex with people of the same gender. But the notion that this made someone 'homosexual' or 'gay' was a relatively recent phenomenon in human history," the history professor wrote.
"From the 1970s to the present, many people who came out of the closet as gay understood their identity as part of a subculture and a specific community," he argued. ". . . they had a very clear recognition that being gay meant more than just having sex with someone of the same gender."
"By the logic of gay liberation, Thiel is an example of a man who has sex with other men, but not a gay man, because he does not embrace the struggle of people to embrace their distinctive identity . . . " Downs wrote.
Downs said the PayPal cofounder, by backing Trump, is "endorsing a platform that is actually dangerous to LGBT people."
“The gay liberation movement has left us a powerful legacy, and protecting that legacy requires understanding the meaning of the term 'gay' and not using it simply as a synonym for same-sex desire and intimacy," Downs wrote.
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