GOP Congressman Aaron Schock of Illinois, the subject of persistent gay rumors since he took office in 2009, said on Thursday that questions about his sexual orientation and how it might relate to his antigay voting record and positions are “inappropriate and ridiculous” and not “worthy of further response.” He also stated, “I’ve said that before,” when asked if he is confirming that he is not gay, and added, “You can look it up.”

Schock had in fact stated to Details magazine in 2009 that he is not gay, in a lengthy piece which noted that he is unmarried and had been the subject of rumors as far back as 2004, when he was asked the question by a Chicago newspaper.

The rumors, however, have only surfaced again and again since 2009, such as when Schock wore a flamboyant outfit -- which included white jeans, a hot pink gingham shirt and a teal belt -- to the White House picnic in June of 2010, immediately reigniting widespread Internet speculation and discussion about his sexual orientation. (After the online frenzy, Schock tweeted that he had “burned the belt.”)

The rumors blew up again when Schock posed shirtless on the cover of Men’s Health in May of 2011, showing off his well-defined abs, as well as being photographed in various poses inside the magazine, promoting health and fitness. And it didn’t help quell the rumors when, last week in Tampa, Fla., while he was attending the Republican National Convention, TMZ descended upon Schock as he was walking through the gay neighborhood of the city, complete with rainbow flags in the background as well as stores selling skimpy men’s underwear and what some have said is a local gay bathhouse.

TMZ.com reported that Schock was exiting a Chuck Todd-sponsored event for youth when its interviewer caught up with Schock to ask if he had fashion advice for fit and trim Paul Ryan, who has been criticized by style experts for wearing suits that are too baggy. “I think Paul's in great shape,” Schock told TMZ. “I think a little bit of leaner attire to help accentuate that physique he works so hard to, you know, maintain.”

Asked on the floor of the RNC in an interview for my SiriusXM OutQ radio program to respond to those who’ve believed that Schock is gay and also view his vote against “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal as a vote against members of his own group, Schock responded, “Those questions are completely ridiculous and inappropriate.” He added, when asked if he is confirming that he is not gay, “I’ve said that before and I don’t think it’s worthy of further response. I think you can look it up.” Schock then walked off, abruptly ending the interview.

On why he voted against DADT repeal, Schock said: “I took the advice of military experts that came before Congress. I think that’s why you have John McCain and others who have a military background. Adam Kinzinger is a close personal friend of mine who’s an active duty member of Congress [in the district] next door to me and so I think that’s why you saw the consistency.”

In an interview with Buzzfeed’s Chris Geidner at “Newt University” in Tampa during the RNC, Schock, who has said he is opposed to gay marriage, also stood by his strong criticism of President Obama and the Department of Justice for not defending the Defense of Marriage Act in federal court. But he hedged on support for a federal marriage amendment that would ban states from allowing gays and lesbians to marry, saying, “I haven’t really thought too much about it.”

Listen to the full interview:

For other public figures who have faced gay rumors, view the slideshow below:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Jeremy Renner

    The hunky star of "The Avengers" blasted persistent rumors about his sexuality -- as well as probes into his personal life in general -- earlier this month. "I want my personal life to be personal, and it's not f***ing true," Renner, 41,<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/04/jeremy-renner-blasts-gay-rumors_n_1403859.html" target="_hplink"> is quoted as saying</a>. "And I don't care if you're talking about things that are true, you're still talking about my personal life.. How about I go peek in your window, take what underwear you wore last night, whose husband you were f***ing, and shove that in the megaphone throughout your neighborhood? How does that feel?"

  • Kristin Stewart

    In 2009, gossip sites went wild with headlines that suggested the "Twilight" star was a lesbian. However, a closer look at Stewart's quotes <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/celebritynews/6508461/Twilight-star-Kristen-Stewart-on-dating-Robert-Pattinson-We-are.-We-arent.-Im-a-lesbian.html" target="_hplink">reveals how she was actually responding to a question </a>over the nature of her relationship with co-star Robert Pattinson: <blockquote>"I've thought about this a lot. There's no answer that's not going to tip you one way or the other. Think about every hypothetical situation. 'OK, we are. We aren't. I'm a lesbian.' I probably would've answered if people hadn't made such a big deal about it. But I'm not going to give the finding an answer."</blockquote>

  • Jessie J.

    The British pop star, who is openly bisexual,<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/19/jessie-j-lesbian-rumors-biography-_n_1438372.html" target="_hplink"> faced allegations in an unauthorized biography</a> that she'd been ordered to withhold the fact that she was a lesbian by her record label. "Jessie might have been with boys in the past -- but she is 100 per cent gay," author Chloe Govan <a href="http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/tv/thevoice/4265487/Voice-coach-Jessie-Js-100-gay-but-bi-is-more-trendy.html" target="_hplink">wrote in an excerpt of the book</a>. "Jessie was openly lesbian and didn't hide it." The singer <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/jessiejofficial/status/192975509381066752" target="_hplink">quickly took to Twitter</a> to deny the accusations, noting, "I'm really a lesbian?! Ha! Thanks for writing yet another boring untrue story."

  • James Franco

    The 21st century actor, artist, intellectual and overall "renaissance man" has believably played gay characters onscreen numerous times (most memorably as Harvey Milk's lover in the Oscar-winning "Milk"), but Franco <a href="http://insidemovies.ew.com/2011/01/05/james-franco-gay-roles/" target="_hplink">has downplayed the rumors</a> about his real-life sexuality. "There are lots of other reasons to be interested in gay characters than wanting myself to go out and have sex with guys," he is quoted by <em>Entertainment Weekly</em> as saying.

  • Mike 'The Situation' Sorrentino

    The "Jersey Shore" star reportedly hit back at housemates Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi and Jenni "JWoww" Farley after they speculated about his sexuality and hinted he might be gay in <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/07/jersey-shore-snooki-and-jwoww-bisexual-feminism_n_1255913.html" target="_hplink">an interview with HuffPost Gay Voices</a>. "Mike really ripped both Snooki and JWoww a new one," a show insider <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/10514733-421/situation-to-snooki-and-jwoww-stop-hinting-that-im-gay.html" target="_hplink">told <em>The Chicago Sun-Times</a></em>. Noting that Sorrentino is concerned such comments could hurt his brand endorsements, which are focused on straight male customers, the source added, "He's extremely upset." In the interview, both JWoww and Snooki implied that despite his playboy reputation, Mike has questioned his own sexuality. "He brings it up," JWoww said. "He'll say, 'People think I'm gay and I don't know what they're talking about.'" Added Snooki: "He told me one time, '[All the talk is] making me wonder.'"

  • Bruno Mars

    Rumors that the pop star had come out of the closet began after CNN iReport -- a subsection of the media outlet comprising 'citizen journalists' from around the world -- <a href="http://www.towleroad.com/2012/04/bruno-mars-did-not-come-out-of-the-closet.html" target="_hplink">posted a since-removed story</a> that stated, "The famous pop-star Bruno Mars admits his homosexuality," which caused the Mars' name to trend on Twitter. Nonetheless, Mars' rep called the report "completely fabricated" and "false," <a href="http://www.gossipcop.com/bruno-mars-gay-out-of-closet-homosexual-april-2012/" target="_hplink">according to Gossip Cop</a>.

  • Hulk Hogan

    In an appearance on "The Wendy Williams Show," Hulk Hogan <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/09/hulk-hogan-gay-rumors-wendy-williams_n_1265982.html" target="_hplink">responded to accusations made by his ex-wife Linda</a> that he had an affair with fellow wrestler Brutus Beefcake. "It's tough because a lot of my friends in normal life, a lot of my friends in the entertainment business, and a lot of my friends in the wrestling business are gay," he told Wendy Williams. He continued, "Just to say something spiteful and hurtful, I don't get it...if it was true and I was gay, I'd embrace it, and I'd tell you guys about it and I'd celebrate it."

  • Tom Cruise

    Despite three high-profile marriages, the "Top Gun" star has been the subject of gay speculation for years. In 2003, he won a $10 million default judgment in a case against a gay porn actor who claimed the two had an affair, and two years earlier, he sued Los Angeles-based publisher Michael Davis for $100 million after Davis claimed to have a videotape of Cruise engaged in homosexual acts. As <em>People</em> <a href="http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,625389,00.html" target="_hplink">reported</a>, the suit was eventually dropped, and Davis eventually stated that Cruise "is not, and never has been, homosexual and has never had a homosexual affair."

  • Oprah Winfrey

    Speculation has swirled over the talk show queen's long-standing kinship with TV anchor friend Gayle King for years. But as Winfrey <a href="http://articles.nydailynews.com/2010-12-08/gossip/27083713_1_oprah-winfrey-network-gayle-king-stedman-graham" target="_hplink">told Barbara Walters last year</a>, "I'm not even kind of a lesbian. And the reason why [the rumor] irritates me is because it means that somebody must think I'm lying. That's No. 1. No. 2 ... why would you want to hide it? That is not the way I run my life."

  • Vin Diesel

    When <a href="http://www.hollywood.com/news/Diesel_Slams_Gay_Rumors/3487636" target="_hplink">asked about the long-standing rumors</a> on his sexuality, the "Fast And The Furious" star proclaimed, "I was like, 'How could you say that? Why would you say that?'" He went on to note, "I'm not gonna put it out there on a magazine cover like some other actors. I come from the Harrison Ford, Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino code of silence. I'm not gonna do that."

  • Kelly Clarkson

    Appearing on "The View," the pop star lamented the fact that she's never been in love and has difficulty dating, which <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/kelly-clarkson-denies-lesbian-rumors-on-the-view_n_1034814.html" target="_hplink">prompt many people to speculate that she's a lesbian</a>. "I'm from a small town so, like, everyone's married with children or about to have children," she said. "So it's a little hard when you go home and people are like -- and that's why people think I'm gay -- because they're like 'Why aren't you married?' And I'm like, 'it doesn't happen for everyone right off the bat.'"

  • Tom Hardy

    The "Inception" hunk <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/28/inception-star-tom-hardy_n_662907.html" target="_hplink">sent the blogosphere into overdrive</a> after he was quoted as saying, "I'm an actor for f**k's sake. I've played with everything and everyone." Still, a source now claims Hardy, who is engaged to British actress Charlotte Riley, <a href="http://www.eonline.com/news/the_awful_truth/tom_hardy_source_sex_quotes_taken_out/192935" target="_hplink">had been taken out of context</a>: "He was discussing a gay role and quotes coming from the character."

  • George Clooney

    After <em>Esquire</em> <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/03/08/george-clooney-responds-t_n_90530.html" target="_hplink">uncovered a website</a> that referred to the Oscar-winning hunk as "gay, gay, gay," the good-natured actor quipped, "No, I'm gay, gay. The third gay -- that was pushing it." Friend Manuele Malenotti <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/celebritynews/8622173/George-Clooney-gay-rumours-are-untrue-claims-friend.html" target="_hplink">has also defended Clooney</a>, noting, "You never know in life, and men are having an identity crisis but I can tell you George is not gay. All I can say is that George, when it comes to love, has decided that he is not going to get married again and he is not going to have any children and he won't change his mind."

  • The 'Gossip' Guys

    Tabloid speculation over the button-handsome young stars of "Gossip Girl" has been rampant, <a href="http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2008/06/chace_crawford_and_ed_westwick.html" target="_hplink">particularly given the fact </a>that Chace Crawford (right) and Ed Westwick (middle) were roommates for some time, according to <em>New York Magazine</em>. Westwick <a href="It's funny because I love this f**king dude dearly. I would die for this f**king dude. He's my brother. But, by God, we are so into our f**king women it's ridiculou" target="_hplink">later blasted the rumors</a>, saying, "It's funny because I love this f**king dude dearly. I would die for this f**king dude. He's my brother. But, by God, we are so into our f**king women it's ridiculous."

  • Michelle Rodriguez

    When asked earlier this year if there <a href="http://www.afterellen.com/people/2011/03/michelle-rodriguez-wants-you-to-know-shes-not-a-lesbian" target="_hplink">were any rumors she wanted to clear up</a>, Rodriguez quipped, "I'm not a lesbian. Yeah! Mitchie likes sausage."

  • Zac Efron

    Celebrity blogger Perez Hilton has <a href="http://perezhilton.com/2011-11-29-zac-efron-aiport-lax-sexy-blue-outfit-sunglasses?relate=#.TtkXgHNPkqU" target="_hplink">made no secret of his admiration</a> for the "High School Musical" star, while other gossip sites have openly speculated about Efron's sexuality. Still, Efron <a href="http://www.ivillage.com/zac-efron-addresses-gay-rumors-0/1-a-26706" target="_hplink">has laughed it off</a>: "I know it's very addictive to read that kind of stuff. It's entertainment. Honestly, if the worst [Perez Hilton] can say about me is that I'm gay, then I think I'll be fine. I can handle it."

  • Alicia Keys

    The singer-songwriter acknowledges <a href="http://www.entertainmentwise.com/news/38024/alicia-keys-i-can-understand-lesbian-rumours" target="_hplink">why many thought she was a lesbian</a> shortly after her Grammy Award-winning debut: "I was definitely rough around the edges. I look back at certain interviews and I'm like, 'Damn! Did I have to look that hard? Did I have to do my hair that way?' More recently, <a href="http://www.theimproper.com/4623/alicia-keys-wants-lesbian-rumors-put-to-rest" target="_hplink">she said</a>, "I'm comfortable in my own skin - comfortable enough to know when something is right for me and when things need to change. All that comes in time, because when I first started out, I hadn't a clue."

  • John Travolta

    Maybe it's the "Saturday Night Fever" syndrome, but Travolta, who has been married to Kelly Preston since 1991, has been<a href="http://www.radaronline.com/exclusives/2010/12/everyone-knows-john-travolta-gay-says-carrie-fisher" target="_hplink"> dogged by gay rumors and reports</a> since the late 1980s. Last year, his attorney Marty Singer sent to a five-page letter to Gawker threatening to sue over posting "false and outrageous" claims in a story <a href="http://gawker.com/5685811/the-secret-sex-life-of-john-travolta" target="_hplink">the site ran in a post called</a> "The Secret Sex Life of John Travolta."

  • Kate Hudson

    The "Almost Famous" star, who is currently dating Muse singer Matthew Bellamy and was previously married to Black Crowes frontman Chris Robinson, said she was baffled by <a href="http://www.starpulse.com/news/index.php/2009/01/09/kate_hudson_baffled_by_lesbian_rumors_" target="_hplink">rumors she'd embarked on a steamy lesbian affair</a>. "No, no, no," she was quoted as saying. "Strictly boys for me!"

  • Ryan Seacrest

    Speculation about the well-groomed TV's host sexuality has been so rampant, even his girlfriend Julianne Hough <a href="http://www.tmz.com/2010/07/21/julianne-hough-ryan-seacrest-gay-dinner-dating-north-carolina-mortons/" target="_hplink">thought he was gay</a>: "He totally wasn't my type," she said, according to TMZ.com. "I thought he was gay." Several years earlier, Seacrest himself had addressed the rumors, noting, "I know a lot of gay males who I work with that are fantastic people and I love hanging out with them. But because I hang out and bring gay men into my life, does that mean that I'm gay? I promise you that I very much love women."

  • Zoe Saldana

    Addressing speculation she might be a lesbian, the self-professed tomboy said she <a href="http://www.shewired.com/g-spot/avatars-zoe-saldana-opens-about-her-lesbianism" target="_hplink">wasn't bothered by the reports</a>, adding, "People have sometimes told my grandmother, 'Your granddaughter has a bit of lesbianism in her,'" Saldana said. "It's that my sisters and I spent all our time among men. We were very popular with them. Our way of thinking is very masculine."