Our article about Peter Thiel, the Facebook investor and rare gay venture capitalist, drew much response. Many noted that gay and lesbian entrepreneurs are not the only ones shut out by the old boys' network of Sand HIll Road. One correspondent, though, captured the experience of being gay in technology's heartland. The problem isn't that Silicon Valley is homophobic — it's that it's suburban. He's not the first gay entrepreneur to file that complaint, but his story's well worth reading. Here it is, verbatim.
Glad someone finally said what everyone had been whispering about in SF for eons. It is strange how the tech industry has become uptight and Roy Cohn like. I don't know Thiel, don't really care what his trip is, but one of the perks of being stinking rich is being able to do whatever the fuck you want, and not having to care what other people think. I am sure his investors only care about money. I've never met anyone in high finance who really cared about anything except money (anyone who thinks loyalty, friendship, etc will trump money with these people is a fool).
From what I have observed though, he does seem nouveau riche in a tacky way (I hope his "butler" is just a cover for some Haight St. trade he's shagging). I don't get why he was secretive about it. It was certainly not a big secret in the Castro.
There is definitely discrimination in SV. It's not overt, but it's there. SV is suburban, and so most of these people wall themselves off, and view The City as a playland to visit occasionally, maybe go out drinking, do some blow, etc. It's not like New York where you're forced to deal with people unlike yourself every day. I have friends who won't take a date to a company event because the culture is too uptight. I don't think people get fired for being gay anymore, but I definitely see where it is career limiting in many companies.
That's why I am an entrepreneur. Customers don't care what your deal is. I don't have to worry about ending up with a boss who has a problem, or in a department that is just square. I had a brief stint with a company that was full of religious freaks, and that was no fun at all.