It's a sad fact that you can be part of a marginalized community and be discriminatory against that community at the same time. Former congressman Aaron Schock is a perfect example of this. According to The Guardian, when former Republican politician came out as gay on social media, it was devoid of remorse and personal accountability for the harm he caused LGBTQ+ people.
"While Schock half-apologizes for being against marriage equality, he conveniently ignores the rest of his hugely homophobic record. This man wasn’t just a coward, he was a crusader. He scored a zero on the Human Rights Campaign’s congressional scorecard. He voted against the Matthew Shepard Act, which expanded federal hate crime laws to include attacks motivated by gender identity or sexuality. He voted against the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. He boasted about having one of the “most conservative voting records in the state house," writer Arwa Mahdawi says in her article.
“Everyone deserves to come out as their authentic self on their own terms,” GLAAD tweeted about Schock's coming out. “However, Aaron Schock’s statement fails to acknowledge the years of hurt that his votes … caused LGBTQ Americans.”
Mahdawi expresses understanding and empathy for Schock: "I have some sympathy for Schock. He notes that he comes from a religious family who have reacted to his sexuality with disappointment, Bible verses and recommendations that he seek conversion therapy. Coming out can’t have been easy."
But, being out is not a pass or absolution of past wrongs as Mahdawi points out. "Nevertheless, coming out isn’t some sort of “get out of jail free” card. It doesn’t absolve you of your history. It doesn’t wipe your slate clean like Schock seems to think it does. As GLAAD notes, the ex-politician doesn’t acknowledge the hurt he caused. He doesn’t take real responsibility and he doesn’t even properly apologize."
"Instead of asking for forgiveness, Schock seems to demand applause: LGBTQ+ people who don’t welcome him with open arms, he suggests, are “vicious”. His self-indulgent essay paints himself as both tragic victim and courageous hero. “I … hope that in sharing my story it might help shine a light for young people,” he writes. What exactly is the moral of that story, one wonders? It is absolutely fine to spend years screwing over your community for personal gain as long as you come out afterwards? As far as I’m concerned, Schock can shine his light elsewhere."
Mr. Schock, we implore you to make a full genuine apology for the horrible things you've espoused over the years. The first step towards healing both individually and the divide with the community is admitting that you were wrong, showing true remorse and willingness to correct your mistakes by listening and learning from the wonderful people in this community, both LGBTQ+ and allies alike.
Now, it's your turn. What will you do? Are you going to own it and show that you're ready to start changing or will you play the 'I can't be homophobic because I'm gay' card that all the other right wing LGBTQ+ people use on a regular basis?