The company may be evil, the iPhone 6 may bend, but God, do I love Apple right now. And you will too, once you read about Apple CEO Tim Cook officially coming out as gay in his own essay in Bloomberg, published Thursday. It's honest, it's heartfelt, and it will hopefully inspire others — whether in business or in high school — to also feel that being gay is one of "the greatest gifts" they have. So hold your MacBook closely and prepare to feel all the feels.
Although we've made leaps and bounds when it comes to gay rights, acceptance is far from universal, and coming out is still courageous (just look at Arizona's latest anti-gay bill, if you need some reminding). This is especially true if you're someone who's notoriously private, and incredibly high profile, like Cook.
When he spoke at Auburn University last year, though he mentioned the discrimination he'd faced as a kid, he'd avoided specifics. Just last summer, when CNBC's co-anchor,Simon Hobbs appeared to accidentally out the CEO in a segment of "Squawk on the Street"— saying casually “I think Tim Cook is open about the fact he’s gay at the head of Apple, isn’t he?” before realizing er, whoops, no one's nodding — Cook remained silent. In spite of being a long-time advocate of LBGT rights, he's remained reticent about his personal life and so, until now, Cook's sexual orientation has been up for speculation (and trust me, speculation has abounded).
On Thursday, though, Cook penned a piece in BloombergBusiness proudly and happily coming out of the closet. Writes Cook in his essay:
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.
The essay makes Cook officially one of the most famous (out) LGBT business leaders in the world, a move which has big implications. As Cook continues:
I don’t consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I’ve benefited from the sacrifice of others. 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.
Earlier this year, the whole company took part in San Francisco’s Pride Parade and only two days ago, Cook urged Alabama — his home state — to work on improving LGBT rights. Though the battle is far from won, Apple has long been at the forefront of gay rights, publicly celebrating
the LGBT community and pressing for positive social change. As Cook writes:
The company I am so fortunate to lead has long advocated for human rights and equality for all. We’ve taken a strong stand in support of a workplace equality bill before Congress, just as we stood for marriage equality in our home state of California. And we spoke up in Arizona when that state’s legislature passed a discriminatory bill targeting the gay community. We’ll continue to fight for our values, and I believe that any CEO of this incredible company, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation, would do the same. And I will personally continue to advocate for equality for all people until my toes point up.
Regardless of whether you're part of the LGBT community, hearing someone say
they're proud of their sexual orientation, especially when they're in the public eye, is pretty much as
heartwarming as it gets.