Former GOP Congressman Aaron Schock has officially come out as gay.
In a lengthy post published to Instagram and his website, Schock tells his story of growing up in a religiously conservative family, rationalizes his opposition to gay marriage while he was the Republican Representative for Illinois’s 18th congressional district, and offers an optimistic take on his future.
The news comes days after Schock was spotted yet again living as a seemingly out-and-proud gay man.
“I am gay,” begins his post.
Of his time in Congress, he says:
“I did like I’d always done and threw myself into the distraction of work and what I once understood success to be. That included being responsive to the interests of the constituents in the district that I served. Perhaps correctly, perhaps not, I assumed that revealing myself as their gay congressman would not go over well. I put my ambition over the truth, which not only hurt me, but others as well.”
Schock justifies his former opposition to gay marriage as being a product of the times, a position once shared by other prominent politicians like John McCain, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Of course, none of these politicians had the personal insight of actually being gay.
The former Congressman does not address his other past antigay positions such as voting against lifting the ban on LGB people serving in the military and voting not to extend hate crime protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity. His time in office earned him a 0% rating on HRC’s Congressional Scorecard.
He does, however, offer this purely hypothetical re-do scenario:
“The truth is that if I were in Congress today, I would support LGBTQ rights in every way I could. I realize that some of my political positions run very much counter to the mainstream of the LGBTQ movement, and I respect them for those differences. I hope people will allow for me the same.”
Schock also paints himself as a victim of “dog whistle” homophobia, fully denying there was any truth in his infamous Downton Abbey office decoration scandal.
He claims to have “never even heard” of the show, adding:
“It took me a while to figure out that it was really just the media’s own way in which they got to say that about me in print…to tie me to a stereotype. In fact, if you want to learn something about the “woke” media, Google my name and consider how prominently that fabricated lie, still without even a single source to back it up, will feature in stories about me by people who otherwise call themselves journalists. It was another way, albeit more sophisticated, to be teased about being gay. A dog whistle.”
Much of the criticism aimed at Schock has been centered around the fact that he’s been out and about enjoying freedoms won through the sweat and blood of a community he directly harmed during his political career.
“I can live openly now as a gay man because of the extraordinary, brave people who had the courage to fight for our rights when I did not: community activists, leaders, and ordinary LGBT folks,” he writes. “Gay bloggers who rallied people to our cause. I recognize this even in the face of the intense and sometimes vicious criticism that I’ve received from those same people.”
He ends his post, which you can read here in full, by offering a personal story of his own family’s evolution:
“As for my family, I still get occasional emails trying to sell me on conversion therapy, but recently at our relative’s wedding, my mother told me that if there is anyone special in my life, she wants to meet them. I’m optimistic about the future and ready to write the next chapter of my life.”
We sincerely hope this is a meaningful first step for Schock and that his actions back up his apparent support for LGBTQ causes. For someone who made a career out of opposing the rights of LGBTQ Americans, discovering your truth and attending circuit parties does not atonement make.