Apple CEO Tim Cook has publicly come out as a gay man in a letter written for Bloomberg Businessweek. Cook says while it “wasn’t an easy choice,” and that his privacy remains important to him, he has come to realize that his desire for personal privacy has been holding him back from doing something more important.
From Cook’s Open Letter, via Bloomberg Businessweek:
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.
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.
Cook continues, noting while America has moved forward on marriage equality, there are still laws on the books that allow employers to fire people, or allow landlords to evict tenants, simply because of their sexual orientation.
Cook says he’ll continue to try and hold on to some of his privacy, and will also continue to spend virtually all of his waking time focused on his job as Apple’s CEO.
That’s what our employees deserve—and our customers, developers, shareholders, and supplier partners deserve it, too.
Apple has long been a strong advocate for human rights and equality for all. Apple employees marched in support of LGBT rights during the 44th annual Pride parade, and issued a statement in support of Supreme Court gay marriage rulings in 2013. The company also spoke up in Arizona when that state’s legislature passed a discriminatory bill targeting the gay community, a bill that ended up being vetoed by AZ Governor Jan Brewer.
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.
Cook closes by saying: “We pave the sunlit path toward justice together, brick by brick. This is my brick.”