Aaron Schock has officially come out as gay.
The disgraced ex-congressman crept back into the headlines last year when he was spotted partying with a group of shirtless male friends at Coachella. More photos and video footage soon surfaced, allegedly showing Schock making out with a guy and reaching down his shorts. He was later spotted stuffing money into a go-go boy’s underwear at a gay club in Mexico City.
Now Schock has come out in a lengthy statement he posted on his Instagram and personal website. It begins with the simple confession “I am gay.”
“For those who know me and for many who only know of me, this will come as no surprise,” Schock writes. “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,” he continues. “In many ways I regret the time wasted in not having done so sooner.”
Schock reveals that those pictures from his Coachella weekend were seen by his mother, who told him he “wasn’t welcome home for Easter.” He added that his sexuality “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.”
The 38-year-old former Republican representative of Illinois also touches on his infamous anti-LGBTQ voting record, saying that if he were in Congress today, he would “support LGBTQ rights in every way” he could.
Schock resigned from Congress when questions surfaced about his lavish spending while in office. Many thought his political career was over after a federal grand jury indicted him in 2016 on more than 24 charges, including fraud, filing false income tax returns, and using campaign funds for personal trips and other luxuries. However, all charges were dropped when he agreed to pay back the IRS.
“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,” Schock concludes in his statement. “I’m optimistic about the future and ready to write the next chapter of my life.”