Apple CEO Tim Cook stated his sexual orientation publicly for the first time in a Bloomberg Businessweek essay.
“While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now,” he wrote. “So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.”
Cook told Bloomberg Businessweek’s Josh Tyrangiel that he had been thinking about coming out for a long time. He said his decision wasn’t “precipitated by any event” nor was it “a reaction to anything.” Cook wrote the piece, then called up Tyrangiel for a meeting, and the two discussed how best to publish it.
Now that he’s made the announcement and Apple’s stock has remained flat, it seems clear that shareholders don’t (and shouldn’t) care. No CEO needs to do what Tim Cook just did. Who you love obviously has no reflection on how well you can run a company, nor is it the public’s business.
Valuing privacy kept Cook from speaking out before. But ultimately, he decided he wanted to “do his part” to help others.
“I don’t consider myself an activist, but I realise how much I’ve benefited from the sacrifice of others,” Cook writes. “So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy.”
Pictures of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. sit in his office. Now he says he can look at them and feel a little prouder.
“When I arrive in my office each morning, I’m greeted by framed photos of Dr. King and Robert F. Kennedy,” Cook writes. “I don’t pretend that writing this puts me in their league. All it does is allow me to look at those pictures and know that I’m doing my part, however small, to help others. We pave the sunlit path toward justice together, brick by brick. This is my brick.”