He lacked a choice. He valued his privacy, and yet now feels forced to give it up.
Everyone has known for years that Cook is gay, and nobody cared. It doesn’t make any difference to the business of Apple, after all. His coming-out statement suggests that while it’s OK to be successful and famous and gay, it is not possible to be successful, famous, gay and private:
Throughout my professional life, I’ve tried to maintain a basic level of privacy. I come from humble roots, and I don’t seek to draw attention to myself.
… While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now.
… I’ll admit that this wasn’t an easy choice. Privacy remains important to me, and I’d like to hold on to a small amount of it.
This is kinda heartbreaking. Straight people don’t have to write essays about their sex life in BusinessWeek in the hopes of preventing school kids from being bullied. But gay CEOs do.
So it’s great that Cook made this statement, it shows that we’re making progress. The stock is not going to tank because Cook is gay. But it still shows there is a way to go — being gay still deprives you of choices, even when you’re the staggeringly wealthy and powerful CEO of the most successful tech company on the planet.
And that is the frustration at the heart of the essay.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.