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It’s no secret that Apple CEO Tim Cook is gay, but today, he ditched his own unofficial “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and “came out” proudly.
“While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now,” Cook wrote in an essay for Bloomberg Businessweek. “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 announcement makes Tim Cook the first openly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company in history. The closest we’ve come in the past was John Browne, who served as CEO of BP from 1995 to 2007. But Browne only “came out” after he resigned—which was itself prompted by a former boyfriend who outed him. Browne has since written a book called The Glass Closet: Why Coming Out is Good for Business.
While Tim Cook has never publicly acknowledged that he’s gay until now, he also hasn’t tried to keep it a secret. Out Magazine previously named him the most powerful gay person on its Power 50 list.
“For years, I’ve been open with many people about my sexual orientation. 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.
He added: “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.”
On Twitter, where Tim Cook is currently trending, Phil Schiller had this to say:
And of course, there has been no shortage of Samsung jokes.
Apple, of course, has long been at the forefront of gay rights, including supporting gay marriage in California, supporting a workplace equality bill in congress, and the company notably shot down the Arizona legislature for trying to pass a bill that would have essentially legalized segregation against 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.”
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