Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, has written an article for Businessweek publicly stating for the first time that he's gay. He starts by saying that while he's never been in denial about his sexuality, he hasn't ever publicly expressed it either. "I’m proud to be gay," he writes "And I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me."
He then adds:
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.
He says in the piece that he was inspired to come out through the courage of people like Dr. Martin Luther King. He also says that if, as head of Apple, coming out as gay can help anyone else then it's worth sacrificing his privacy for .
I believe deeply in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, who said: "Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'" I often challenge myself with that question, and I’ve come to realize that my desire for personal privacy has been holding me back from doing something more important. That’s what has led me to today.
A quick look on Twitter will tell you that it's been received as a very positive thing for Cook to have done, especially as a chief executive of such a huge global corporation. Some people saw it as an opportunity to have a little lighthearted dig at Apple though.
It's a very thoughtfully written piece though and it finishes with a wonderful sentiment: "We pave the sunlit path toward justice together, brick by brick. This is my brick."
While Cook had never openly admitted to being gay before, it was well known that he was. Back in June CNBC's Simon Hobbs accidentally outed him on the "Squawk on the Street" segment of his show. "I think Tim Cook is fairly open about the fact that he’s gay at the head of Apple isn’t he?" Hobbs asked a guest.
You can see the awkward exchange that followed, below.