Aaron Schock, Farewell! We’ve had a great ride, but now that you’re officially out, this has got to be our (long-promised) final item about your antics. It’s true, the former U.S. congressman (R-IL) who supplied so much “BTW” fodder has finally done the one thing that could end it all: come out publicly as gay. Of course, the deed itself, posted in a heartfelt statement, seemed entirely superfluous, since his sexual orientation was never in doubt. What made Schock fair game for us was his spotlessly anti-LGBT voting record while in Congress (2005–09). What made him fun—in addition to his great good looks—were the poolside ensembles, the shirtless photo on the cover of Men’s Health (while a congressman), the many sightings at gay bars and strip joints. (However, he says that he did not decorate his D.C. office in the style of Downton Abbey, as widely reported.) Aaron will be missed! But… could there yet be hope for a comeback? He ends his post with a bit of contrition and an intriguing possibility: “The truth is that if I were in Congress today, I would support lgbtq rights in every way I could.”
Boys to Men The last time the Boy Scouts of America made headlines was when their policy of excluding gay youths was being challenged in court by LGBT organizations. This time it’s because the national BSA has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as it faces an avalanche of sexual abuse lawsuits from former scouts. The group representing the plaintiffs, Abused in Scouting, says it has 2,000 clients with claims in the $500 million to $1 billion range. It would be hard to miss the irony of these lawsuits in light of the BSA’s epic homophobia. But perhaps they’re not unconnected. The dogged adherence to its exclusion policy seemed oddly anachronistic in 2010; wouldn’t it have been easier just to allow gay kids to join? But if we assume the BSA knew about the ticking time bomb of litigation, then reasserting the ban on gays becomes more of a legal strategy—akin to the Catholic Church digging in its anti-gay heels amid its own sexual abuse scandal. It would be tempting, if depressing, to conclude that sexual exploitation is unavoidable in an all-male environment of men and boys. Or it could be that the underlying cause is puritanical sex codes that create the conditions for secrecy and abuse, whereas a policy of tolerance and free speech about sexuality could still save both organizations.