In an essay written for Bloomberg Businessweek magazine, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook makes public that he is gay. The fact likely makes Cook the highest-profile gay person in corporate America.
“Plenty of colleagues at Apple know I’m gay, and it doesn’t seem to make a difference in the way they treat me,” wrote Cook. “Of course, I’ve had the good fortune to work at a company that loves creativity and innovation and knows it can only flourish when you embrace people’s differences. Not everyone is so lucky.”
Cook has said that he has never denied his sexuality, but up until now, has never acknowledged it publicly. Cook wrote in Thursday’s column that it wasn’t a simple choice to publicly disclose his orientation, but that he felt the acknowledgement might end up helping others.
“I’ve come to realize that my desire for personal privacy has been holding me back from doing something more important,” he shared. “So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.”
Richard Metheny of executive search firm Witt/Kieffer says that the announcement is a really big deal.
Richard explains, “This really sets the stage for `It’s OK.’ Anything CEOs do is very magnified, very complicated, and it affects a lot of people. There’s no taking away that he has become a role model and will have a positive influence on lots of people that would like to be comfortable being out in the world of business.”
Just three days prior to the news, Tim spoke out against his home state of Alabama regarding the lack of rights for the state’s LGBT community. Alabama is, after all, one of the last remaining states that do not recognize same-sex marriage, and it doesn’t offer legal protections on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Tim Cook, now 53 years old, succeeded Apple founder Steve Jobs as chief executive officer of Apple Inc. back in 2011.