Former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock ( R-Illinois ) has officially come of the closet as gay.
In a lengthy Instagram post that went up March 5, Schock started by simply saying, "I am gay."
He continued by saying, "For those who know me and for many who only know of me, this will come as no surprise. 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. In many ways I reget the time wasted in not having done so sooner.
"I offer my story as one person's experience. I've come to believe it is, in some respects, just a more public version of a difficult and ultimately, now optimistic, journey familiar to many LGBTQ people."
Schock then talks about his childhood, including being part of an Apostolic Christian Church and moving from Minnesota to Peoria, Illinois, where there was "one of the less rigid branches of our church."
He added that his initial foray into D.C. politics and Congress ( when he was 27, in 2009 ) resulted in a lot of attention and speculation, also stating that "untruthful stories were written" years later about him decorating his office in the style of Downton Abbeya show he said he's never seen.
Schock also stated that while he was in Congress, "[p]erhaps correctly, perhaps not, I assumed that revealing myself as [my constituents'] gay congressman would not go over well. I put my ambition over the truth, which not only hurt me, but others as well." At another point, he said, "The truth is that if I were in Congress today, I would support LGBTQ rights in every way I could."
He also implied that his family has not readily accepted his gayness, saying, "As much as I would like for my family to quickly change about the way they view it, I've come to terms with the fact that it might take my loved ones more time than I would like. And I realize some might never come around."
He concluded the post by describing himself as "a freer person" and saying "Life is better with nothing to fear or hide." Although he said that family members still try to "sell me on conversion therapy," his mother want to meet the special person in his life.
Schock resigned from the U.S. House in March 2015 amid questions about his campaign and office spending. He later reached a deal with federal prosecutors, and authorities officially dismissed criminal charges against him.