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Former Republican congressman Aaron Schock comes out as gay in lengthy post

Schock said he would support LGBTQ rights if he was in Congress — which he opposed when he served

2020-03-06

The former Republican congressman Aaron Schock has come out as gay in a lengthy post.

Schock opposed LGBTQ rights while serving in Congress and over the last couple of years, rumours about his sexuality had been circulating after he was spotted kissing another man in Coachella.

And now, in a lengthy post on his Instagram account and blog, Schock opened up about his sexuality and said it would come as 'no surprise' for those who know him and of him.

He wrote: "I am gay. 

"For those who know me and for many who only know of me, this will come as no surprise.

"For the past year, I have been working through a list of people who I felt should finally hear the news directly from me before I made a public statement. 

"I wanted my mother, my father, my sisters, my brother, and my closest friends to hear it from me first.

"The fact that I am gay is just one of those things in my life in need of explicit affirmation, to remove any doubt and to finally validate who I am as a person. 

"In many ways I regret the time wasted in not having done so sooner."

 
 
 
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After going into detail about growing up as part of the Apostolic Christian Church and becoming the youngest member of Congress in 2009, he confesses he enjoyed the attention speculation of his sexuality.

Schock resigned from Congress in 2015 amid scrutiny of his spending. He was indicted a year later on charges that accused him of illegally dipping into campaign and government coffers to subsidize a lavish lifestyle.

But all charges were dropped in 2019 amid criticism of how prosecutors handled the case.

He continued: "Following my resignation, I was neither seeking nor holding elected office for the first time since my teens.

"Thinking I was out of the political spotlight made me much less worried about others knowing that I was gay.  

"I truly wanted to tell my family and felt ready to do so, starting with Mom and Dad. But just as I felt comfortable enough to come out, government prosecutors weaponized questions about my personal life and used innuendo in an attempt to cast me as a person of deceptive habit and questionable character.

"My family, friends, and former employees  were subpoenaed and asked prying questions about my personal and dating life." 

 
 
 
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Schock goes on to say how he was travelling home for Easter to tell his mother about his sexuality when he joined friends at Coachella and images of him kissing another man surfaced online. After his mother saw the images, she banned him visiting her for the holidays.

"Pictures online made clear what I was en route to tell my mother in person.  She told me to turn around and go back to LA.  I wasn’t welcome at home for Easter," he added.

"To characterize some of these conversations with my family in general, it’s fair to say it has not been a case of instant acceptance and understanding. 

"What I had to share was unwelcome news to every single person in my family, out of the blue in some cases, and was met with sadness, disappointment, and unsympathetic citations to Scripture. 

"It hurt to hear all this, to say the least.  What I had feared from many of them had come to pass. 

 
 
 
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"My family had always been my closest friends and biggest supporters, through thick and thin.  And I say, not to arouse sympathy, but hopefully, rather, understanding, I felt fairly alone."

Later in the lengthy post, Schock refers to when he voted against LGBTQ rights while in Congress and said if he was in Congress today he would 'LGBTQ rights in every way I could'.

He continued: "As is the case throughout most of human history, those who advance the greatest social change never hold elected office. 

"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. 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. 

"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."

Read the full piece here.