Tim Cook, one of the most powerful men in the world, and perhaps the only openly-gay CEO of a major American firm, explained a few years ago the reason why he wanted to go public about his sexuality.
“In all honesty, every day I come to work I have, right in front of my desk, a photo of Robert Kennedy and a photo of Dr [Martin Luther] King,” replied Cook, who joined Apple in 1998. “And every day I sort of ask myself – it was doctor King’s quote – life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘what are you doing for others?’
“And it became so clear to me that kids were getting bullied at school and kids were being discriminated against and even being disclaimed by their own parents. And that I needed to do something.
“Where I valued my privacy significantly, I felt that I was valuing it too far above what I could do for other people.”
“And so I wanted to tell everyone my truth.
“Many people already knew – for many people it was no revelation. It was like discovering something your iPhone’s always done, you just didn’t quite know it, right?
“So, it wasn’t a revelation to the people I worked with, but it was to the broader world so I felt a tremendous responsibility to do it.”
Cook came out in October 2014, writing a lengthy op-ed in Bloomberg saying he was “proud to be gay”.
“For years, I’ve been open with many people about my sexual orientation,” Cook wrote. “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.”
He said that his experiences have given him greater insight and he credited these experiences for making him a better leader.
“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.”
Recently, Tim Cook defended Apple User’s right to privacy by denying the FBI the unlocking mechanisms of the iphone, since that would pose a security breach for all apple users worldwide.
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