Nate Silver clarified his controversial "sexually gay but ethnically straight" remarks in a new Reddit Q&A.
Last month, the 34-year-old statistician and New York Times blogger angered a number of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights advocates after declaring he was "a little bit skeptical of parts of gay culture," and that friends had described him as "sexually gay but ethnically straight" in an Out magazine interview. "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," he noted at the time.
When one Reddit reader took him to task for his remarks, he replied by calling the issue "complicated," noting, "My quick-and-dirty view is that people are too quick to affiliate themselves with identity groups of all kinds, as opposed to carving out their own path in life."
He then added:
"Living in New York in 2013 provides one with much a much greater ability to exercise his independence than living in Uganda -- or for that matter living in New York 40 years ago. So perhaps there's a bit of a 'you didn't build that' quality in terms of taking for granted some of the freedoms that I have now.
And/but/also, one of the broader lessons in the history of how gay people have been treated is that perhaps we should empower people to make their own choices and live their own lives, and that we should be somewhat distrustful about the whims and tastes and legal constraints imposed by society."
Writer Guy Branum was among those to criticize Silver's original choice of words, saying the statistician was "participating in a continued construct of homosexuality as a behavior rather than a culture, perspective or neurological atypicality" in a blog for HuffPost Gay Voices.