Apple’s CEO Tim Cook publicly came out as gay on Thursday in an essay for Businessweek.
Writing in Businessweek, Cook said the following:
While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now. So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.
He goes on to say:
Being gay has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be in the minority and provided a window into the challenges that people in other minority groups deal with every day. It’s made me more empathetic, which has led to a richer life. It’s been tough and uncomfortable at times, but it has given me the confidence to be myself, to follow my own path, and to rise above adversity and bigotry. It’s also given me the skin of a rhinoceros, which comes in handy when you’re the CEO of Apple.
On Monday Tim Cook gave a speech at the Alabama Academy of Honour in which he criticised his home state for its failure to advance LGBT rights. He said that the state was still “too slow on equality for the LGBT community.”
Tim Cook attended San Francisco’s annual gay pride celebration and parade earlier this year.
Apple has a long history of supporting its LGBT workers. A 2013 Wall Street Journal op-ed written by Tim Cook called on the US government to protect LGBT employees from discrimination, saying “Embracing people’s individuality is a matter of basic human dignity and civil rights.”
And in a 2013 speech at Auburn University, Cook expressed his support for equal rights, and hinted at the discrimination he experienced while growing up.
Since these early days, I have seen and have experienced many types of discrimination and all of them were rooted in the fear of people that were different than the majority.
The Auburn University speech is seen as the first time that Cook had alluded to his sexuality in public. Rumours that Tim Cook is gay have existed for years. Out Magazine placed Tim Cook as America’s most powerful gay person in a 2011 issue.
In June 2014 a host on CNBC accidentally mentioned Cook’s sexuality, which resulted in an awkward silence.