The AAPL CEO Tim Cook publicly announced that he is gay on Thursday, and that he wants to help further civil rights. Though some have gone on to appreciate the 53 year old CEO for coming out of the closet and acknowledging his ‘different’ sexual orientation, not everyone seems to be pleased about it- especially people from the state where he was born and brought up- Alabama.
The announcement makes Tim Cook one of the most influential Americans and probably the most powerful corporate leader to have publicly admitted being so. Cook denounced all discrimination against the community of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, declared his sexual orientation in a magazine editorial, confirming a fact widely known in the close-knit Silicon Valley tech community but rarely discussed.
“I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me,” Cook said in an article he wrote in Bloomberg Businessweek.
“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.”
Cook’s announcement comes at a time when there is increasing acceptance of gay marriages, with more and more American states legalizing same sex marriages, though the nation at large continues to be divided over the issue of gay rights. 32 American states now give legal sanctity to same sex marriages.
Former BP Chief Executive Lord Browne, who had been tight lipped about his sexual orientation secret for decades, was forced to resign in 2007 after he publicly admitted to having a boyfriend in 2007.
“By deciding to speak publicly about his sexuality, Tim Cook has become a role model, and will speed up changes in the corporate world,” Browne said in an email to Reuters on Thursday.
“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 wrote.
“As the first CEO of a Fortune 500 company to reveal he is gay, Tim helps make the business world a bit less homophobic,” Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of gay rights organization DignityUSA told Reuters in an email.
“I’m sure this will make it easier for some others in similar positions to consider coming out.”
Though the tech sector is not too conservative about anyone’s sexual preferences and almost 15% of the workforce in the tech sector in America is either gay or lesbian, Cook hopes his example will inspire others to push for a change. Apple Chairman Art Levinson said Cook’s announcement was “courageous.” “On behalf of the board and our entire company, we are incredibly proud to have Tim leading Apple.”