NYT Redefines “Gay Icon”

In a breathless New York Times fashion story about Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) by Ashley Parker, the reporter describes the politician with an anti-gay voting record as a “gay icon” based on his good looks and six-pack abs. While lightly brushing on the rumormongering about his sexual orientation, Parker says that the gays in Washington love Schock.

As for his personal life, Mr. Schock is single and opposed to gay marriage, and he has told reporters that he is not gay. In the interview in his office, he mentioned a former girlfriend. He also said that while he is passionate about all issues, the social ones are “not what compelled me to run for office.”

“Your belief system tends to be a function of how you were raised,” Mr. Schock said. “Being raised in the Midwest and in a relatively conservative household, my views were shaped by my upbringing, by my Christian faith.”

So, how did he feel about joining the ranks of Liza Minnelli and Lady Gaga as a gay icon, albeit for the Washington set?

He was quick to dismiss the frenzy, saying the pictures were just a distraction. As for those who admire his physique, “If they’re in my district, I’ll take votes wherever I can get them,” he said. “Who knew I could get this much attention with my shirt on?”

Now, I’m sure there are whole queer studies dissertations on what and who a gay icon is, but I’m pretty sure Schock isn’t. People talk about him, especially when he is dressed for a garden party, and people talk about his shirtless pictures. But does that mean he’s a gay icon? Really??

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