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A Message to Former Congressman Aaron Schock

Welcome...I guess. 

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Aaron Schock

Today, amidst all of the news that is constantly barraging us, a little piece slipped through about a coming-out story for a guy I have been following for quite some time. Via his Instagram, disgraced former congressman Aaron Schock confirmed for all of us what we have known to be true for a while: he is gay.

I will admit, at first I wanted to rant, “Girl, bye. Take your Republican, anti-LGBTQ ass outta here and go rub suntan oil on some WeHo dummy who doesn’t know he’s sleeping with the enemy.” 

But I thought better of that. I thought, “No, I should take the high road. What Aaron needs is help, because attractive, rich, gay, white celebrities never get help.” 

But let me just first acknowledge that this queen (and yes, he is a queen now) was virulently anti-gay while he was in office. He then eventually resigned his office amidst a scandal involving decorating his office in the style of DOWNTON ABBEY! 

Now, admittedly, closet cases in DC are not unheard of, and neither is their inclination to harm the community they are trying to resist. In that sense, Aaron Schock was typical. What pissed me off about him was that he was doing all of this terrible stuff to the LGBTQ community and then going off to live his best gay life. 

Rumors swirled for years about Aaron Schock, even after he was disgraced. Then in March 2019, he was photographed with his hands down another guy’s pants at Coachella—and he still did not come out or even apologize for his past bad acts. I just couldn’t take it with this, queen!

But rather than writing this from a place of frustration and anger—rather than writing something scathing where I read this queen down to the ground—I thought it might be fair to at least glance at the lengthy coming-out statement he posted on his website aschock.net (which is just exactly something a WeHo queen would have).

I have to say, the statement did resonate with me. I dare say, I even felt sorry for the man. He talked about how he planned to tell his parents he was gay at Easter, but then the Coachella story broke, and in the car on the way there, his mother called and told him to turn around and go home. He wasn’t welcome. He talked about how he still has family trying to encourage him to go to conversion therapy.

He talked about how, when he was young, he tried to put ambition in front of authenticity in order to suppress who he was. He succumbed over and over again to praise and attention, and over and over again realized that all of that praise and all of that attention is empty if you can’t be who you are.

It is a sad story. It is only made unique by the fact that he was a U.S. congressman who had to make those very consequential choices publicly, and who had to live through his downfall publicly as well. It’s sort of Shakespearean, but with abs and an influencer status. 

Schock has apparently seen the light, and (in too-little-too-late fashion) he admits that if he were to return to Congress he would support the LGBTQ community and its causes. For all of its good intentions, the thing reads like it was written by a very privileged, objectively attractive, white cisgender WeHo queen in 2007. And if you judge it by those standards, the posting almost sounds progressive. 

Aaron has a lot of growing to do. He has a lot of apologizing to do. He has a lot of media training on LGBTQ issues to do. He has a lot of work to do, and that work will be difficult. He may even have to meet some lesbians and transgender people. He may have to refer to someone who is non-binary as “they.” He may even have to meet someone who eats carbs. 

So Aaron, I want to help you. I want to offer you the help you don’t deserve and that you never gave anyone else you oppressed. Privilege, right? It’s great. 

First, welcome—I guess. 

A few things:

  1. Build your awareness.  Your public coming-out statement reads like you’re at base camp one in regards to speaking on LGBTQ issues. Honestly, the acronym is LGBTQQIP2SAA, and even that may have changed in the last twenty minutes. So just start with the basics.
  2. Do some work.  You need to volunteer with some groups other than the HRC and GLAAD. Like, you need to go deep into some trans activism. You need to talk about racial justice. You need to elevate the names of folks being murdered for being who they are.
  3. Use your influence.  You mentioned your family offering you conversion therapy? Work to get conversion therapy not only banned, but criminalized. Call up some of those Republicans whose numbers you have stored in your iPhone 11 Pro.
  4. Keep posting shirtless selfies on Instagram.  But use them to draw awareness to issues that people in our community need to be aware of. 
  5. Do right by us.  You fucked up bad, boo-boo. Like, real bad. And I know there is some muscle queen out there who just wants to bang you, but if you want redemption, you need to earn it. You came out publicly for a reason. I assume it was because you are ready to turn things around. So prove it. Do it. Live it. 

One last thing. Do us a favor: spare us the sanctimonious crap if you don’t want to help fix some of the things you helped break or keep broken. Please don’t write a book about how heroic you are, or how your coming-out story is going to save the community. Your story is typical, minus your celebrity. You’ve done nothing heroic, and in fact, to many of us, you’re still the bad guy. But you can change that story. You can make it better. Maybe not heroic, but better. And also, don’t tell us. Show us. 

So again, welcome—I guess. If you do right by us, we may allow you to be a guest judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race. But I wouldn’t hold your breath.

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Ryan Leach

Ryan Leach is a frequent contributor to OutSmart magazine. Follow him on Medium at www.medium.com/@ryan_leach.

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