Is There Defense for Aaron Schock?

We all think he’s an ass.

When you think about what kind of person he is you immediately go to the most recent social media post of some forlorn, offended LGBTQ+ person raising a stink about Schock’s own social media posts or published photos frolicking with sexy gay men at this or that circuit event, wearing bikini swim-wear that, frankly, is actually suitable for a gay man in his shape. I’m not saying he deserved the ‘Fittest man in Congress” award from Men’s Health, or whatever mumbo-jumbo award he likely earned with sex, like any good gay.

Oops right there, that’s my real opinion coming out.

Actually no, that’s not it.

What is my real opinion on the guy so many have called a douche, and asshole, an unwelcome gay?

Frankly, I’m undecided. And you may not like which way I’m leaning.

Towards compassion.

So yeah he’s never apologized once for his lack of taste when he redecorated his office.

Are we too focused on the fact that he chose Downton Abbey as inspiration for his remodel? Or are we more upset that he (likely) lied saying he’s never watched the show? And you call yourself gay… mmhmm…

Actually at the time he wasn’t calling himself gay. So it sounded legit. <Shrug>

Here’s the deets:

We know he’s gay.

He’s come out.

Not exactly in a ‘Tears dahling tears! Love me, feel my pain, it was hard, I’m sorry for hiding and acting all straightish, politickish, vote with the crowd, republicany.”

He did mention briefly his lack of family acceptance.

He didn’t really try to explain his voting behavior while in office.

He didn’t apologize for any of it.

In my opinion, and this is my blog so everything I write is technically my opinion, if he’s looking for acceptance in the gay community he’s going about it all wrong.

But is he looking for acceptance in the gay community? Looks like in some circles he already has it.

Maybe I’m wrong but if he didn’t have it he wouldn’t still be seen hanging out with gay hotties would he?

And who cares who he hangs out with. Does it matter?

Of course!!

If you’re gay, it matters. Because if you are gay and you speak out for LGBTQ+ rights, or even if you don’t, then you should lead the parade next pride season. And you better have a spotless past because if you don’t how dare you be on that boat with Eliad Cohen, one of the hottest ‘influencers’ in the circuit scene. I mean that’s so not fair.

What if it wasn’t hot shirtless guys on rooftop pools that he was hanging out with. What if he just found a regular guy and settled down and was caught walking their dogs together hand-in-hand, or picking out tomatoes at Trader Joe’s? Would we as a gay community, so caught up in judgment, have cared as much?

I have to say I really don’t think so. I mean there might have been a minor fuss but nothing like what we see now.

Wait! Am I defending Aaron Shock?

Maybe. Because we are judging him obviously but are we judging him for the right reason but with the wrong ammunition? Despite the fact that he’s a politician he definitely missed the class on diplomacy and tact for sure, but every article I see about him ‘coming out’ features him shirtless at some gay event. And they all lay claim to the fact that it’s no surprise because we all knew.

Here’s the thing the gay community has to remember though, and yes I am calling all of you out on this:

We don’t get to judge the coming out story of anyone in our community, you just don’t get to do that.

And yet it continues to happen..

Everyone has their own story and everyone gets to come out in their own time and everyone has a right to wait until they feel comfortable in their own skin before taking the following steps:

Admitting it to yourself (often the hardest step and the one that takes the longest)

Accepting yourself

Saying it out loud to yourself

Telling your best friend

Telling your circle

Telling your family

Telling the world

That last one is the hardest because often the world knows before you are ready for it. I would know.

For all you people in the LGBTQ+ community who knew who you were as long as you were alive, or discovered it early, accepted yourself early, fought off bullying, or not, gained acceptance through just being you…BRAVO!

That does not give you the right to judge anyone for how, when and why they take, or don’t take, those steps above on anyone’s time-line but their own.

I can say this because:

I’m gay.

I didn’t know it myself until well after I married a woman.

I fought it.

I stopped fighting it.

I figured it out.

I decided oh well, this is my life I’m living with what I have.

I didn’t tell anyone.

Years later things slowly changed, and I mean slowly. I mean the tortoise passed me on the way to the finish line slow.

But that was not accepted progression in the communities of gays I knew. Oooohh noooo.

Everyone had their opinion and it all shared one common thread. They wanted me out and they wanted me out when THEY wanted me out.

One actually said “I’ll have you out in 6 months.” Yeah, not happening.

From others I got comments like:

“Just leave. Pack your bags and leave.”

“Just tell your kids. She can’t stop you, it’s your story, just tell them. They’ll be fine.”

“Just file for divorce, move out, you’ll get partial custody so you can see your kids and then you can live the life you deserve.”

Ummmm, whaaaat?

That is not what I wanted at all, and that was not how it went. It’s still not all resolved but it will be. When I get to the next step I’ll take it and no one is going to make me do something I’m not ready to do or that doesn’t make sense to me and my family in the long run.

So as a man who grew up thinking he was straight, married a woman he truly was in love with, and had 2 incredible boys with, it was hard for me to relate to a lot of the gay community that didn’t go through what I did. They didn’t understand life outside of, or before ‘being gay, and they definitely didn’t understand the challenge of the duality that was my life and that of many others like me.

When I came out to myself I was still voting republican. But mostly based on economic policy.

When I came out to myself I was still anti-gay marriage. But not because I didn’t think they deserved the right, but because I couldn’t understand why they’d want to.

When I came out to myself I was pro ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’. But mostly because I believed being gay was just part of who I was, and that I’d never just use that to define myself.

Over time my opinions on all of this changed, but on my timeline.

My story is unique but it’s also not. I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to get to know and become really good friends with several men at different rest stops on the same road I’ve taken. I was nudged in the direction of another man who went through what I was approaching and lived to tell the tale. He literally talked me off the ledge of anxiety at least twice over the phone before I even met him! I have another close friend stuck on the median of the freeway between the gay community and his straight life and is at a stand still because he actually loves his wife and family and doesn’t want to leave but wants his gay life too. I love him but sometimes I get a bit frustrated at his ‘having my cake and eating it too’ lifestyle.

And a few other gay men that I’ve talked to before during and after the coming-out-to-their-wives process. Some ended in disaster and some avoided it. I chose control over chaos as I went down my road and while that meant a really slow progress. It gave me the opportunity to reflect what I was doing with each step and protect the most important pieces of my life. My kids. It also did afford me the opportunity to check out the scenery as I was on my travels.

Now you can take that any way you want but what that really means is that before I dove all-in I got to see who’s-who and what’s up in the gay community. Some of it I liked, some of it I didn’t.

What I didn’t like was the sheer hypocrisy that runs rampant in the gay community.

We preach about lack of acceptance and lack of inclusion and the perils of being judged outside our community and yet within each of the communities I have seen an incredibly harrowing amount of judgment towards each other.

It’s almost embarrassing.

How can we as a segment of society get so pissed about being excluded from this or that when I’ve seen guys turned out of bars or events because they’re not wearing enough leather or not really ‘part of the leather community’ or shunned by twinks because you have too much muscle, or like Pete Buttigieg, not being taken seriously by the LGBTQ+ community because he’s not ‘gay enough’. Gay enough for whom? He only needs to answer to and be happy with himself.

Not every gay has to walk around with a rainbow flag, snap a fan or march in the parade.

I’m part German/Austrian but I don’t go to Oktoberfest or participate in German heritage pride events, if there even were any that I knew of. And lets face it, there’s plenty of you gays out there that only go to the pride events for the parties, so what does that say? Are they really proud of who they are or do they just come to dose, dance shirtless and dash home for their disco nap before the next event?

Part of what I wrote in my bog “Parades, Parties & the Problem with Gays” has to do with this very thing. That the gays might well want to just all come outside on a random Tuesday at 10am, dropping whatever they are doing, and meet at the town square so everyone can just see, recognize and accept that we are a community, from all walks of life, with all types of jobs and all types of people that you never even would have guessed. How many of those 'proud gays' would attend if that were the case, no parties, no dancing, no dosing no loud costumes and no display of our own stereotypes, I wonder...

What does this all have to do with Aaron Shock?

No where did I read any article, and point me in the direction if there is one, about his real story as a man living in the closet in fear of coming out. In a time when coming out meant career suicide (and still does), where voting for DADT was good for your political career no matter who you were, or when the sheer fear of saying the words to yourself was so daunting it didn’t even seem possible.

Today, every show I watch on Netflix has a gay character. And today, these characters are real people, not caricatures of gay men like those on shows like Modern Family. Yes I’m calling them out because while I know gays like that, I would have much rather have them show a gay couple that is less…obvious. But that wouldn’t have given to ratings success so lets go with stereotypes and BAM they hit the 10 season mark. Good for them!

What that means is that even 10 years ago the country wasn’t ready for gay America to be mainstream. If you think we were then how the hell did Trump even get elected?

You don’t know Aaron Schock.

You don’t really know Aaron Schock’s story.

You don’t really know anyone’s story until they tell it all, if they ever tell it all.

A rare few closest to me know the depths of despair I was at during parts of my life as I dealt with this or how grave my depression was and how many times it came back.

Don’t judge Aaron Schock hanging out with sexy men at gay circuit events.

Don’t judge Aaron Schock for playing it straight and not coming out on your time-line.

Don’t judge Aaron Schock for his bad design taste.

And don’t judge him for voting anti LGBTQ+ anything and/or everything while he was in office even though he himself was gay.

Do judge Aaron Schock for not having the balls to stand up for the rights of any community that deserves those rights regardless of whether or not you are a part of it.

Aaron Schock, I am throwing you shade. You will sit in judgment for not doing what’s right for those who deserve it. But to me, you will sit in judgment for that, and only that.

And for that, there is no defense.

I don’t need an apology for Aaron Schock’s behavior pre-coming out. I need him to do better, and I expect, in today’s world, for others to learn and do better as well.

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