As the parent of a gay child, I always root for the LGBT people who make successes of themselves for they provide good role models for the gay teen who may be worried about his/her future that may include discrimination.
While some in the LGBT community may want everyone in the LGBT community to come out to show the world that they are your dentists, teachers, lawyers, construction workers, and politicians, LGBT people should not be bullied to disclose their sexual orientation before they are ready.
Take Aaron Schock, the Republican U.S. Representative from Illinois, for example. Last Friday, gay journalist Itay Hod made insinuating remarks on Facebook that Schock was gay. Itay’s Facebook newsfeed has over 6,500 followers.
Other gay journalists such as Michael Signorile, John Aravosis of America Blog and Josh Barro chimed in and poked fun at Schock on Twitter too. They tweeted about what they considered Schock’s gay stereotypical traits such as body-building, obsession with his clothes, following his gay trainer on Twitter as well as gay Olympic diver Tom Daley on Instagram (Schock has since closed down his Instagram account).
In my opinion, no one’s sexual orientation should be fodder for tabloid news or social media despite the fact that a politician like Schock, a Congressman since 2009, invites the public eye like a movie star. Schock’s anti-gay voting record has riled many in the gay community who consider him a traitor to their gay rights agenda. Does Schock have an obligation to vote for gay rights?
Says John Aravois, “by voting anti-gay, gay members of Congress send a message that it’s fine to be and vote anti-gay – after all, even the gay guy does it.” To me, it is not surprising that a Republican congressman would vote against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” oppose the repeal of The Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA or ENDA ( The Employment Non-Discrimination Act). With the exception of Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) whose son is gay, a handful of Republicans, and The Log Cabin Republicans, one would expect a Republican to vote in the same manner as Schock.
We do not know what Schock’s objections were to the various bills, but last November, when Illinois became the 16th state to legalize gay marriage, many Democrats voted against marriage equality in a close vote.
If Schock is gay (and he might not be), I hope he has not internalized the homophobia of society and his peers as many LGBT persons do. He should not be coerced into coming out of the closet until he’s comfortable. Nor should your LGBT children.
When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know
For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.