Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly addressed his sexuality for the first time, saying that he is “proud to be gay.”
In a heartwarming open letter published on the Bloomberg Businessweek, he gave up some of his privacy in a bid to do something for others. He wrote that while he has been open with many people about his sexual orientation, he has never drawn attention to it on a more public level.
He decided that he could do something more important by revealing that he is gay, adding that “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.”
He revealed that he considers being gay “among the greatest gifts God has given me.” He added, “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.”
While society is changing its attitudes towards the LGBT community and issues affecting its members, there is still some way to go, according to Cook. He said that there are still some states where people can be fired based on their sexual orientation and that people still face and fear abuse every day.
He noted that the decision to come out wasn’t easy, and would like others to respect his privacy over the matter. He closes his letter by addressing the framed photos of Dr. King and Robert F. Kennedy. While he doesn’t put himself in their league, he wrote, “All it does is allow me to look at those pictures and know that I’m doing my part, however small, to help others.” The full letter can be read here.