Apple CEO Tim Cook is a gay man.
While his sexuality was no secret, the businessman finally acknowledged it publicly on Thursday in a Bloomberg Businessweek essay advocating for human rights and equality.
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“While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now,” Cook wrote. “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 says he has been open with colleagues, friends and family for years, but valued his privacy from the public, until a Martin Luther King Jr. quote — “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'” — inspired him to open up about being a member of the LGBT community.
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“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,” Cook wrote. “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.”
Cook acknowledges leaps and bounds for equality in recent years, but feels there is still a lot more progress to be made, so as simple as it may be, he hopes his essay is a useful contribution to the cause.
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“I don’t consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I’ve benefited from the sacrifice of others,” Cook wrote. “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.”