Nate Silver | News

Nate Silver: 'Sexually Gay But Ethnically Straight'

OUT Editor Aaron Hicklin delivers an engaging profile of Nate Silver, whom the magazine has named its 'Person of the Year'. Over drinks, Silver goes in depth with Hicklin about his critics, about how he became so good at being a stats geek (perspiration), what his plans are for the future, and his sexuality:

Silver“To my friends, I’m kind of sexually gay but ethnically straight,” explains Silver, who came out to his parents after spending a year in London studying economics—“I don’t know how I got any work done”—and considers gay conformity as perfidious as straight conformity. He supports marriage equality, but worries that growing acceptance of gays will dent our capacity to question broader injustice.

“For me, I think the most important distinguishing characteristic is that I’m independent-minded,” he says. “I’m sure that being gay encouraged the independent-mindedness, but that same independent-mindedness makes me a little bit skeptical of parts of gay culture, I suppose.”

He recalls a series of flagpoles in Boystown in Chicago memorializing various gay Americans. “There was one little plaque for Keith Haring, and it was, like, ‘Keith Haring, gay American artist, 1962 to 1981,’ or whatever [actually 1958 to 1990], and I was like, Why isn’t he just an American artist? I don’t want to be Nate Silver, gay statistician, any more than I want to be known as a white, half-Jewish statistician who lives in New York.”

Nate Silver: Person of the Year [out]

Incidentally, Silver spoke out about his sexuality for the first time earlier this year, so, though technically out, he made our big list of the '50 Most Powerful Coming Outs' because he decided to talk about it.

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  1. Unbelievable. We haven't had one comment from Rick on this topic or any other today. I guess they didn't give him access to the computers in Bellevue's library. Kept him on lockdown in the psychiatric ward all day. ...kinda' feel sorry for him. No, I don't.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Dec 18, 2012 4:41:22 PM

  2. AND the major difference between the ghetto gay of NYC and the NYC native (who happens to be homosexual) in Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, or even Long Island is that the NYC newcomer conforms and reacts. The native is just....himself (without the desperation to prove he's so much hipper and cooler than the others in whatever town he left).

    Posted by: Yupp | Dec 18, 2012 4:42:50 PM

  3. Yupp - call your bluff, coward.

    click my name, see my blog, see my life in NYC.

    you? one more anonymous troll who convinces himself of lies in order excuse his cowardice.

    nice try, but you continue to fail at life.

    i get it. nobody will f**k. that's not because gays in NYC have Gay rules - it's because you have no balls and are likely as homely as you are unintelligent. not a great combo.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Dec 18, 2012 4:45:06 PM

  4. Ernie : IF they could get a gay gestapo going they sure would. But it's nothing as dramatic as that. You just won't get hired at any gay business (not life-threatening, I'll admit) nor get invited to any gay social events. And you'll just generally get the cold shoulder. And, yes, I know tht won't KILL a person, has certainly hurt and disappointed a lot of gay men who expected differently.

    Posted by: Yupp | Dec 18, 2012 4:45:36 PM

  5. Kiwi : Your blog will prove nothing. Everybody knows "On the internet no one knows I'm a dog." And if you DID visit NYC, so what ? One can create ANY fantasy-life. I want to hear from more real New Yorkers on here who know what I'm talking about.

    Posted by: Yupp | Dec 18, 2012 4:48:02 PM

  6. Kiwi : No, I was always above-average looking. Until they realized I was BORN in NYC, then their anti-native hostile jealousy reared its head.

    Posted by: Yupp | Dec 18, 2012 4:49:40 PM

  7. Oh, got it. So, you and your friends dont' get hired to work in NYC gay bars because "you're too masculine" (ignoring the fact that many gay establishments hire straight males...) and now that it's because "you're from NYC".

    yeah right.

    the lies you need to convince yourself of are equally sad and funny. and you're not convincing anyone else.

    yes. you with your above-average looks. riiiiiiight. ;-)

    it's been fun proving you to be a gutless turd. and now i'm done with you forever. feel free to continue obsessing over me, and everyone else who has a fun and enjoyable openly-gay life.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Dec 18, 2012 4:55:43 PM

  8. "Why isn’t he just an American artist?"

    Oh Nate, your hypocrisy is showing...

    Why "American"? Why isn't he just an artist? Or just a notable human, for that matter? (say, that notability brings us right back to gay, doesn't it... imagine that)

    Posted by: Randy | Dec 18, 2012 4:56:25 PM

  9. amen RANDY! because, to Nate and some others, GAY is still negative. whereas American isn't.

    there's a reason you dont' get canadians saying "look, we don't ALL love hockey and maple syrup, ok?? don't STEREOTYPE US!" - and it's because neither of those things carry any perceived-negative weight.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Dec 18, 2012 5:02:08 PM

  10. I got ya, Kiwi. (werk !!)

    Posted by: Yupp | Dec 18, 2012 5:05:52 PM

  11. P.S. If the character you created in your blog lives in Canada, anyway, why would you be concerned about NYC life, or life anywhere in the U.S.?

    Posted by: Yupp | Dec 18, 2012 5:10:05 PM

  12. Yupp, all you got was your ass handed to you. Because you're an idiotic and clearly distressed troll. Nothing more.

    Posted by: MateoM | Dec 18, 2012 5:11:52 PM

  13. Mateom : Shush, or I'll whack your out-of-town ass too.

    Posted by: Yupp | Dec 18, 2012 5:18:26 PM

  14. When the only response your opponent can give is to threaten you with violence, you know you've won the argument.

    Silly troll.

    Posted by: MateoM | Dec 18, 2012 5:22:22 PM

  15. I can see where he is coming from. I'm gay, but I want to be known for who I am and what I do or try to do. We don;t call Brad Pitt "One of the sexiest straight actors" and I don;t think being gay should be our primary label. That kind of talk only seeks to divide rather than include.

    I don't really identify with the stereotypical gay culture, and sometimes I even find it repugnant. I would never deny being gay, but it tires me and grates on me that when people find out I'm gay they expect these stereotypical gay behaviors (promiscuous, effeminate, obsessed with looks) portrayed in the media.

    So if that is the perspective he is coming from, I agree.

    Posted by: Alexx | Dec 18, 2012 6:02:37 PM

  16. Following a gay blog is my intro to the community and so far I'm a little stunned. The sparks fly over labels, stereotypes, socializing in bars, going your own way, getting spit out and rejected, and anything else. My totally uninformed and inexperienced impression is look both ways before crossing the street boys. And this is just a comment thread on a respectable blog. Not to be so naieve but do people really hate each other sooo much here? Maaaybe I just didn't try hard enough to be straight. Seriously if this is just discussion, based on some of the discussion there isn't much hope. (I don't actually believe that)

    Posted by: Mark | Dec 18, 2012 6:27:28 PM

  17. Mark : This is not a "respectable" blog. It's caused a lot of harm. BUT, there is certainly "hope" for you. Just follow your own way, do NOT let gays try to dictate how you should believe or behave, just because you like the same sex. Historically homos have been as varied as Allen Ginsburg to Ernst Roehm. Just be yourself.

    Posted by: Yupp | Dec 18, 2012 6:38:58 PM

  18. Alexx, learn a lesson from those gay men who you take such issue with: learn to live each day not worrying what other people are thinking about you.

    Those gay guys you just denigrated, the ones that "grate on you", are living with a freedom that you don't have.

    They're living their lives without fear. You're living your life in fear of being associated with them.

    don't blame them for your insecurities, kiddo.

    congrats. you find "stereotypical gay culture" repugnant. with an attitude like that you deserve every ounce of anti-gay prejudice and hatred you're destined to continue experiencing in life.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Dec 18, 2012 6:41:29 PM

  19. Mark, rather than admit that the straight people in their lives that they're afraid of are pieces of S**t, we get gay men who come on here to instead blame All The Gay People for the anti-gay bigotries of their family, friends, and local communities.

    it's a way to avoid dealing with reality.

    just know this - when you Come Out, and start to interact with LGBT people openly in your own life, you won't ever encounter the specific "hate" and "anger" you're reading on here. Why? those guys aren't Out, so they're never going to interact with you.

    that's why they need online forums as their outlet.

    So, best of luck on your journey. Build a good support system, bust down that Closet Door, and leave the trolls to stew in their own misery.

    the real gay world? it's not what they're saying it is. and they're only saying it so they can pretend they're not missing out on anything.

    but trust, they are. ;-)

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Dec 18, 2012 6:48:23 PM

  20. All of this sturm and drang is too much fun. Are we really being completely rational? Charles in DC is the most correct about this. Sorry to burst everyone's bubble...I love Nate too...but this is just one notch removed from the ubiquitous but misguided "straight acting seeks same" in personal ads. But I don't hold it against him at all! I think of this in terms of interpretive communities. The public sees Nate as first a geek, then a journalist, then a gay if at all. In fact I knew he was gay for ages but I don't think most people knew until after the election. If he's conforming to anything its to this construction of him that's already part of the media narrative. When he's having sex with another man he's just as gay as any of you are; which is kind of the complement to some clever witticism posted here (I think) recently along the lines of "if you're not f--king the poon, you're not acting straight".
    But paradoxically I doubt any gay (or straight!) person under 25 would be surprised by what he said, except perhaps a handful of the most well indoctrinated aspiring mandarins of the queer theory ivory tower. I've got news for you, attitudes like this are the future so get used to them. Yes, every minority group that is making advances in "acceptance" slowly either 1) forgets the true struggles of their forebears (or should I say forebares hehe) or 2) transmutes them into something they never really were or 3) intentionally disowns them to comical effect. He probably knows he doesn't know everything about gay history, and he doesn't care. The very acceptance we strove for will necessarily result in an interpellation into the "normative"; and it's only logical that someone with Nate's background and youth will see his geekiness (still uncool, or less cool, than teh gay) as what truly limns and delineates his uniqueness.

    Posted by: EchtKultig | Dec 18, 2012 6:59:01 PM

  21. Mark : And MOST importantly, be careful with sex. Practice safe sex.Don't catch HIV. Etc. etc. You might be way ahead of me on that, but....can it really be said enough? And watch out for yourself. Don't trust anyone early on. Guys have actually been convicted of purposely giving HIV to others in the gay community (hard as that is to believe). And I know guys in their 20's who have it, guys who I'd have thought knew enough to be careful.

    Posted by: Yupp | Dec 18, 2012 7:02:27 PM

  22. But, Ech, if Silver was a Republican (or Texan, or Southerner, or Israeli, or Irish, Mormon, Catholic, or even from NJ) and said the SAME thing you know the gays would be ripping him to shreds here.

    Posted by: Yupp | Dec 18, 2012 7:05:23 PM

  23. to add onto that, echtkultig, his own sheer dumb luck of being born into white privilege.

    i suppose this simply makes the queer youth whose passion for history and knowing where we came from all the more worthy of praise.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Dec 18, 2012 7:05:26 PM

  24. A point I didn't reach in the first paragraph was of course, you are another interpretive community. If you want to say he's first a gay, then a geek? Fine, that's perfectly valid too. Of course, there are further subtleties involved, but I won't got into those.

    Posted by: EchtKultig | Dec 18, 2012 7:09:12 PM

  25. can someone explain to me how gay culture is in any way different from the current young-heterosexual-culture?

    get a job. buy stuff. get an apartment. get a little black book. date. hook up. don't get married and have kids young.

    this was the "gay lifestyle" up until the late 60s, folks. come ON.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Dec 18, 2012 7:15:51 PM

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