Tim Cook finally came out of the closet, talking about his sexuality for the very first time in the public domain. He was “proud to be gay” in an essay published early on Thursday, becoming by far the most prominent executive of a public company to come out. “Let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me,” Mr. Cook wrote in the essay which was published by Bloomberg Businessweek.

For the first time in 53 years, in his essay, Mr. Cook also noted that he had spent much of his life trying to keep his personal matters private, which is why he had not previously spoken in public about his sexual orientation. “Apple is already one of the most closely watched companies in the world,” he wrote, “and I like keeping the focus on our products and the incredible things our customers achieve with them.”

Mr. Cook is now the most high-profile gay man in the corporate world, joining a very short list of openly gay executives at public companies. He noted that Apple had done much to advance human rights and marriage equality in its workplace, and had consistently enacted progressive policies to encourage gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender candidates to work for the company. Apple has publicly supported a workplace equality bill in California, site of the company’s headquarters, and spoke against a bill passed in Arizona which Apple said discriminated against the gay community.

Arthur D. Levinson, chairman of Apple’s board, issued this statement, saying, “Tim has our wholehearted support and admiration in making this courageous personal statement.” Mr. Levinson added: “His decision to speak out will help advance the cause of equality and inclusion far beyond the business world. On behalf of the board and our entire company, we are incredibly proud to have Tim leading Apple.”


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