November 1, 2014

Tim Cook Comes Out: Why It Matters

This week an unmarried middle-aged man who millions suspected/assumed was gay came out and said Yep, I'm Gay, shocking no one and yet surprising a lot of people... and very possibly changing the world.

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, the most valuable company (by market value) in America, came out as a gay man this week.

In an essay for Bloomberg Businessweek, Cook announced that he is gay... and that statement makes him the first openly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 Company.

From his essay (link below to full post):
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. 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.
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.
Cook goes on to say that he knows visibility counts, and he hopes his coming out will help others. And that discrimination is simply bad for business.
That this happened is so cool -- and then that there was not a huge social uproar, and no impact on Apple's stock price, tells us how far we have come.  Although a member of Russia's parliament did call for Cook to be banned from Russia for life. Hateful Putin bigot.
And there is still far to go... in 29 states Cook could have been fired for being gay, and in many parts of the world there would be legal and or violent ramifications. 
In many important ways, Tim Cook has just stepped out from Steve Jobs' huge shadow.
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.
Some in the media are criticizing Cook for not coming out sooner, and I totally get that... maybe if he had we all would have gotten a free Jennifer Hudson or Beyonce album on iTunes rather than that damn boring U2 one....

When I arrive in my office each morning, I’m greeted by framed photos of Dr. King and Robert F. Kennedy. I don’t pretend that writing this puts me in their league. All it does is allow me to look at those pictures and know that I’m doing my part, however small, to help others. We pave the sunlit path toward justice together, brick by brick. This is my brick.


Here is Cook's essay:

Tim Cook comes out.