Former Republican Rep. Aaron Schock (Ill.), who voted against the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and against expanding hate crimes legislation to include sexual orientation and gender identity, came out as gay in an Instagram post on Thursday, five years after resigning in disgrace over a scandal involving his alleged misuse of public and campaign funds.
Schock posted a public statement confirming his sexual orientation and saying he spent the past year telling his mother, father, siblings and closest friends before deciding to go public.
“I am gay,” he said. “For those who know me and for many who only know of me, this will come as no surprise.”
“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 posted. “In many ways I regret the time wasted in not having done so sooner.”
The former representative said he did not come out during his time in Congress out of fear that it would “not go over well” with voters.
“I also in retrospect realize that I was just looking for more excuses to buy time and avoid being the person I’ve always been,” he said.
Schock resigned from office in 2015 after facing two dozen charges of misusing federal funds, including for remodeling his House office.
The representative alleged that during the proceedings, prosecutors “weaponized questions about my personal life and used innuendo in an attempt to cast me as a person of deceptive habits and questionable character.” The charges, which he labels as “false,” were dropped last year.
“It was ironic and painful; just as I was finally ready to come out of the closet, it felt as though someone had locked the door,” he said.
Over the past several years, Schock has been spotted making out with a shirtless man at a festival while putting his hand down the man’s pants and stuffing cash into a male go-go dancer’s tiny briefs at a Mexican gay bar.
Schock’s anti-LGBTQ voting record includes a vote against the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and his support for an amendment to the Constitution that would ban marriage for gays. He was awarded a zero rating from the Human Rights Campaign. His coming out message refrained from directly apologizing for his anti-LGBTQ voting record.