Apple CEO Tim Cook: I'm Proud to be Gay

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Apple CEO Tim Cook: I'm Proud to be Gay

Tim Cook

"...I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me."

In an essay penned for Bloomberg Businessweek, Apple CEO Tim Cook openly talks about his sexual orientation, speaking at length about how being gay has shaped his tenure with the technology and fashion giant. This essay is also the first time Cook has publicly, and directly addressed his sexuality.

"For years, I've been open with many people about my sexual orientation," said Cook in the editorial. "Plenty of colleagues at Apple know I'm gay, and it doesn't seem to make a difference in the way they treat me...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 then talks about how his sexuality impacts how he sees the diversity within Apple's consumer base, saying that being gay has given him 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."

As someone who covers Apple on a near-daily basis, this announcement is a "Late to the Party," kind of coming out; Cook's sexuality hasn't been up for debate among the tech-present for years, going at least as far back as 2009 -- Cook's COO, and interim CEO days when then-CEO Steve Jobs took a medical leave of absence.

With his Apple history in mind, Cook's coming out in such a formal way, while unsurprising, is an important moment in the tech world, and in the business world in general. He's not the only openly gay executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he's certainly one of the most visible.

Part of this essay is dedicated to shining a spotlight on workplace equality laws. Cook says Apple is in strong support of such a law currently before Congress, and the company has spoken out against discriminatory laws in states like Arizona. "I will personally continue to advocate for equality for all people until my toes point up," said Cook.

And if Cook's moment inspires others to come out to their friends, families, and coworkers, I support him all the more.

Source: Businessweek

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good on him :)

Wait, this is the first time he came out? I thought this was known information?

Cook's sexuality hasn't been up for debate among the tech-present for years, going at least as far back as 2009

Do you mean it has "been up for debate" or am I thinking of someone else?

I mean, either way, good for him. I just thought this was far from recent.

I do hope this will let other people to be brave enough (in some countries) to come out, however I have never understood why you have to be proud of it, seeing as it is not an accomplishment.
Why does it go directly from shame to pride? I take it is a coping mechanism - to keep ones chin up.

Do his co-workers tell him they are straight? Or is it something they just keep to themselves because it doesn't matter.

God, why did it have to be Apple? Now the hipsters get to brag about how they're supporting a "progressive company"!

I kid :P

In all seriousness though, this was a good thing for him to do even if it was a little late.

Finally something Apple can be proud to announce.

Huh. I was gonna make a comment about China oppression factory etc but LGBT is totally legal and has been accepted in china for the majority of the last 2,000 years. Your move Murica.

Good on him for standing by his sexual orientation. It doesn't make Apple any less of a steaming pile of shit that ruthlessly exploits people who don't know any better.

While I'm all up for people being open about their sexuality, I'm REALLY looking forward to the day when you don't need to "come-out" anymore because people have stopped caring who you stick it to and how. "Apple CEO is gay" is pointless information as the CEO's sexuality has nothing to do with the product they sell. Although it DOES have relevance to the subject of tolerance and equality in the workplace, this is the only reason this is news. His chosen sexuality does not change my opinion that Apple products are pretentious, overpriced garbage made for people who can't be bothered to learn how to use a computer properly.

I know I am an ass hole but I'm kind of taking issue with "...I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.".

To clarify that inflammatory (what, is that where the term flaming comes from? If so, I am ashamed it took me this long to realize!) first liner, if you're gay I don't care ... if you're in a high profile position, then I might consider you brave but somebodies sexuality isn't a big thing to me.

What I am miffed about is, that sounds in the ballpark of "it's better to be gay" ... you consider the fact that you are attracted to your own gender as being among the greatest gifts given to you?

Maybe I am just looking at the negative of the situation, like a pessimistic ass hat but it sounds a lot like "thank god I'm not one of those straighties!".

Like I said, I am probably the asshole in this situation but to clarify again, ones sexuality doesn't mean anything to me straight, gay, bi, trans, cis, non-cis and any other flavor of human you want to call yourself ... same goes for black, white, Asian or any other ethnicity ... actually, I take that back, I hate anybody who is orange from fake tan!

omega 616:
I know I am an ass hole but I'm kind of taking issue with "...I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.".

To clarify that inflammatory (what, is that where the term flaming comes from? If so, I am ashamed it took me this long to realize!) first liner, if you're gay I don't care ... if you're in a high profile position, then I might consider you brave but somebodies sexuality isn't a big thing to me.

What I am miffed about it, that sounds in the ballpark of "it's better to be gay" ... you consider the fact that you are attracted to your own gender as being among the greatest gifts given to you?

Maybe I am just looking at the negative of the situation, like a pessimistic ass hat but it sounds a lot like "thank god I'm not one of those straighties!".

Like I said, I am probably the asshole in this situation but to clarify again, ones sexuality doesn't mean anything to me straight, gay, bi, trans, cis, non-cis and any other flavor of human you want to call yourself ... same goes for black, white, Asian or any other ethnicity ... actually, I take that back, I hate anybody who is orange from fake tan!

I actually had a similar reaction upon reading that. It just seems like such a weird thing to say. It's probably not what he intended, but it feels like what he implied. Being proud of your sexuality in a world where historically you've been treated badly is one thing, thinking of it in terms of a "gift from God" is strange without further context. Maybe its because I'm white/male/het (read: lowest common denominator in NA), so I don't "get" it.

cikame:
Do his co-workers tell him they are straight? Or is it something they just keep to themselves because it doesn't matter.

While your position on it not being "special" is relevant, heterosexuality didn't have a time a couple decades ago where coming out meant you lost your job and potentially got physically harmed.

Maybe in a few decades it will be routine enough to make the "so?" response valid. But until society reaches that point where people are treated like everyone else then it's best to just let people have their day even if you're already there.

JamesBr:

omega 616:
I know I am an ass hole but I'm kind of taking issue with "...I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.".

To clarify that inflammatory (what, is that where the term flaming comes from? If so, I am ashamed it took me this long to realize!) first liner, if you're gay I don't care ... if you're in a high profile position, then I might consider you brave but somebodies sexuality isn't a big thing to me.

What I am miffed about it, that sounds in the ballpark of "it's better to be gay" ... you consider the fact that you are attracted to your own gender as being among the greatest gifts given to you?

Maybe I am just looking at the negative of the situation, like a pessimistic ass hat but it sounds a lot like "thank god I'm not one of those straighties!".

Like I said, I am probably the asshole in this situation but to clarify again, ones sexuality doesn't mean anything to me straight, gay, bi, trans, cis, non-cis and any other flavor of human you want to call yourself ... same goes for black, white, Asian or any other ethnicity ... actually, I take that back, I hate anybody who is orange from fake tan!

I actually had a similar reaction upon reading that. It just seems like such a weird thing to say. It's probably not what he intended, but it feels like what he implied. Being proud of your sexuality in a world where historically you've been treated badly is one thing, thinking of it in terms of a "gift from God" is strange without further context. Maybe its because I'm white/male/het (read: lowest common denominator in NA), so I don't "get" it.

You're both over-analyzing the phrase. People say "greatest gift God has given me" freely without putting anyone lower then themselves. You see it as a gift because you overcome the burden it puts on you in terms of discrimination to elevate yourself in whichever way the context allows for it. It's not him saying "Being gay is better, nerds. You wish you had all the dicks I'm rolling in right now." :P

Also, let's all collectively not be shitheads and go "oh this isn't news because being gay isn't impacting his being the Apple CEO. I don't tell everyone I'm straight, rabble rabble." No shit sherlock, because there aren't homes in the U.S. where being straight will get you kicked out by your own family/workplaces that won't tolerate you working there/harassment and belittlement from peers/etc. I don't get why we keep pushing for being "progressive" while actively saying "Equality means complete ambiguity. I don't care if you're still having tangible hardships because I'm tired of hearing about your gayness. I'm totally inclusive though."
That's great guys. It's not how this works, though.

Lightknight:

cikame:
Do his co-workers tell him they are straight? Or is it something they just keep to themselves because it doesn't matter.

While your position on it not being "special" is relevant, heterosexuality didn't have a time a couple decades ago where coming out meant you lost your job and potentially got physically harmed.

Maybe in a few decades it will be routine enough to make the "so?" response valid. But until society reaches that point where people are treated like everyone else then it's best to just let people have their day even if you're already there.

What this guy said, also. The social context for being gay and being straight is nowhere near equal as it stands now.

I fail to comprehend how preferring dicks over chicks is a gift from God. And yeah, you are gay, good for you, so what?

Ferisar:
Snip

I ~did~ say that the situation was relevant from a tolerance/equality stand point in my post prior to that, just that it felt like an odd turn of phrase and that I'm looking forward to the day when it won't be relevant anymore, since that's the ideal. I even said that what ~might~ have been implied is likely not what was intended. Not really over-analyzing, just pointing out that it was an odd choice of words (which is a subjective opinion anyways).

Lightknight:

cikame:
Do his co-workers tell him they are straight? Or is it something they just keep to themselves because it doesn't matter.

While your position on it not being "special" is relevant, heterosexuality didn't have a time a couple decades ago where coming out meant you lost your job and potentially got physically harmed.

Maybe in a few decades it will be routine enough to make the "so?" response valid. But until society reaches that point where people are treated like everyone else then it's best to just let people have their day even if you're already there.

What about Brendan Eich at Fire Fox?

In related news Bill Gates is straight, Michael Sam is gay, and Kanye West is...what do you call a person that in love with themself?

Ukomba:
What about Brendan Eich at Fire Fox?

Being straight didn't cost him his job, funding a campaign to ban same-sex marriage did.

Whether or not he should've lost his job over that is debatable, but his sexual orientation was not the reason people asked him to leave.

Lightknight:

cikame:
Do his co-workers tell him they are straight? Or is it something they just keep to themselves because it doesn't matter.

While your position on it not being "special" is relevant, heterosexuality didn't have a time a couple decades ago where coming out meant you lost your job and potentially got physically harmed.

Maybe in a few decades it will be routine enough to make the "so?" response valid. But until society reaches that point where people are treated like everyone else then it's best to just let people have their day even if you're already there.

Basically the response I was going to type. Cikame sounds like my dad whenever he sees Pride parade coverage on the news; he says something along the lines of, "I have no problem with gay people, but I don't like when they get all half naked and wiggle their asses around in public." First of all, ripped tan dudes grinding in speedos and short shorts is a VERY small part of Pride but it's the majority of what you see on the news because it looks flashy and plays into the preconceptions mainstream media has about the gay community. Secondly, sexual orientation may not matter to you, but until virtually everyone on earth sees it the same way, all this stuff plays an important part of increasing visibility and normalizing LGBT people in mainstream culture, which is exactly what we need to get to the point where "coming out" is a thing of the past. That won't happen until the "closet" ceases to exist, and we are still a loooooong way off from that.

BTW, this is coming from a 100% straight white male who happens to feel very strongly about equality.

Ukomba:

Lightknight:

cikame:
Do his co-workers tell him they are straight? Or is it something they just keep to themselves because it doesn't matter.

While your position on it not being "special" is relevant, heterosexuality didn't have a time a couple decades ago where coming out meant you lost your job and potentially got physically harmed.

Maybe in a few decades it will be routine enough to make the "so?" response valid. But until society reaches that point where people are treated like everyone else then it's best to just let people have their day even if you're already there.

What about Brendan Eich at Fire Fox?

I'm unsure what you're asking about or how this relates? Brendan Eich, a man whose firing was demanded and who was very publicly harassed for utilizing his rights as an American to support a political cause he believed in that the majority of his state voted in favor of? I found that entire movement deplorably intolerant and discriminatory even if we disagreed with his position. Shame on everyone that joined the hunt. I get that the political topic was prop 8 and I fully understand why that was controversial, but this kind of witch hunting is a cancer regardless of the side you're on. I, of course, didn't vote for it in my own state but I respect other people's right to have personally held convictions that I disagree with. I mean, shit, I wouldn't want to be held accountable for everything I ever voted for. Hindsight is 20/20.

Were it a bill to imprison gay people or something I'd be right there with you but it was someone thinking they were protecting their religious/cultural term (albeit erroneously since the government doesn't control religious or cultural practices). These are people who probably think that civil unions get equal rights (even though inheritance, visitation rights, and adoption issues are still unequal).

Frankly, I consider all of that debate to be over the government failing to separate itself from church. In issuing marriage licenses they impose authority over a religious and/or cultural practice that is not their place to legislate. Any two consenting adults should be able to enter any kind of legal relationship with one another. That the government originally enacted the marriage license as mandatory (common law marriages were the norm before the Civil War) to prevent interracial marriages and are now using it to prevent anyone else's union (where consenting adults are concerned) is deplorable. It's literally a Jim Crow law that somehow made it to today because it was convenient to maintain.

I would push for a complete abolition of the marriage license being issued for anyone, heterosexual or homosexual. The financial union allowing joint filings, visitation rights, and whatever else should be as simple as the unions businesses regularly enter and leave. Marriage is a fundamental human right, not something the government should butt their noses into besides the regular form of contract enforcement we rely on them for. The marriage license used to only be necessary for times where a marriage would otherwise have been illegal. For example, two underage people trying to marry (or one member being underage) would have required a marriage license. Or, in some countries where there was a mandatory period of mourning after the death of a spouse, a marriage license would need to be issued (by the church) to allow a person to marry before the end of it. Shame on our government for turning it into a form of control over it and for using the term "marriage" that fools the religious and conservative groups into thinking that changes to it somehow impacts their religious and cultural heritage.

Ferisar:
snippity

Regarding your last paragraph to me, I'm being a little meta ... I know gay people have a long way to go before the world is where I am at, which is I want gay (and every other sexual preference/orientation) to be just accepted.

Not I am proud to be pay 'cos to be honest, that sounds fucking stupid. I am proud of my genetic code seems a little weird, who is proud to have brown eyes? Freckles? Toes to be certain sizes? Height?

I think that if you're taking pride in these things, you live a very sheltered life ... have pride in raising a boat load of cash for a charity or over coming a challenge (from climbing a mountain to beating and addiction) but pride, a feeling of self satisfaction and pleasure for genetics?

I think it's like the word "awesome" or "genius" ... they get thrown around A LOT but they are very top tier words. Awesome is something magnificent that instills a little bit of fear, how can a pizza instill fear? Or I often hear comedians being called geniuses ... some might be really intelligent but genius? Einstein (the go to guy for genius, I know) or Hawking are geniuses, they are literally awesome ... they can leave most intelligent people lost after one sentence. Making jokes takes talent, skill and intelligence but genius? Bill Hicks and George Carlin often get these badges of honor ... I've listened to them, not extensively but I can't see genius, intelligence maybe ... I'm not sure how analyzing "the words you can't say on tv" constitutes genius though.

Back to the point, I think instead of "I am proud to be gay" it should be "I am happy being gay" ... or if you wanted to be cute "I am gay being gay!". I understand I am happy being me, I accept that I am gay and I don't care who knows it.

omega 616:

Ferisar:
snippity

Regarding your last paragraph to me, I'm being a little meta ... I know gay people have a long way to go before the world is where I am at, which is I want gay (and every other sexual preference/orientation) to be just accepted.

Not I am proud to be pay 'cos to be honest, that sounds fucking stupid. I am proud of my genetic code seems a little weird, who is proud to have brown eyes? Freckles? Toes to be certain sizes? Height?

I think that if you're taking pride in these things, you live a very sheltered life ... have pride in raising a boat load of cash for a charity or over coming a challenge (from climbing a mountain to beating and addiction) but pride, a feeling of self satisfaction and pleasure for genetics?

I think it's like the word "awesome" or "genius" ... they get thrown around A LOT but they are very top tier words. Awesome is something magnificent that instills a little bit of fear, how can a pizza instill fear? Or I often hear comedians being called geniuses ... some might be really intelligent but genius? Einstein (the go to guy for genius, I know) or Hawking are geniuses, they are literally awesome ... they can leave most intelligent people lost after one sentence. Making jokes takes talent, skill and intelligence but genius? Bill Hicks and George Carlin often get these badges of honor ... I've listened to them, not extensively but I can't see genius, intelligence maybe ... I'm not sure how analyzing "the words you can't say on tv" constitutes genius though.

Back to the point, I think instead of "I am proud to be gay" it should be "I am happy being gay" ... or if you wanted to be cute "I am gay being gay!". I understand I am happy being me, I accept that I am gay and I don't care who knows it.

He considers it a gift to him because it gave him a perspective that he feels benefits him tremendously in understanding others in a way he feels is relevant to his job.

I get what you're saying but he explains his rationale in a way that makes sense. Whether or not we agree with his reasons justifying the costs incurred by being gay (isolation, difficulty finding a good partner when your dating pool is so constricted, facing bigotry, additional hurdles in reproduction to pass on genes if desired), it's entirely his prerogative to evaluate whether or not it is subjectively a blessing or curse or neither or both.

Apple CEO preening about his sex life? That is so...Apple of him.
Newsflash, bub: Nobody cares.

Here's an idea: How's about coming up with something genuinely new, for once, instead of selling slightly upgraded and revamped products every generation?

Tim Cook has been rather heavily pressured by the more activist members of the gay community to use his position as Apple CEO as a public advocacy for gay rights. I've seen some rather dreadful articles that draw an entirely inappropriate link between the rates of suicide among gay teenagers and the fact that the Apple CEO wasn't public about being gay, so hopefully that will stop.

Meh so what, I guess because of where I live it's nothing new and as mundane as anything else I don't see why it matters what he is. You still make overpriced and over hyped products :-P

I just wish people would stop making such a big deal about it when some public figure comes out as gay...and for that matter I wish that public figures would stop making such a big deal out of coming out as gay. This is 2014...at this point aren't people who actually care (in a negative way) about homosexuals a minority themselves? I thought the general attitude was that there's nothing wrong with it anymore. Could be wrong - and I probably am :P - but that's just how I see it.

I take issue with anyone who's proud over an arbritary distinction. Like being proud of your country, or race or whatever. Had he said "I'm proud of the support", or "I'm proud of myself for having the strength to come out", I'd have no problems, but "Proud to be gay"... why? Why are you proud of that?

Eh, good on him. I don't really see why his sexual orientation matters at all, but that is coming from someone who doesn't define himself by his sexual orientation. Just like I don't define myself by my gender or how tall I am or the color of my eyes. One thing I am sure of though is that Apple is not up on what diverse crowds need. They are a fashion company and little else. Not hating on them, but they are like Coach bags. Everyone has/had one because it's fashionable and in, and they happen to make pretty good bags too.

RJ 17:
I just wish people would stop making such a big deal about it when some public figure comes out as gay...and for that matter I wish that public figures would stop making such a big deal out of coming out as gay. This is 2014...at this point aren't people who actually care (in a negative way) about homosexuals a minority themselves? I thought the general attitude was that there's nothing wrong with it anymore. Could be wrong - and I probably am :P - but that's just how I see it.

Yeah I feel the same, my initial reaction was "eh is this still news in 2014?". Imo if western society was really progressive a persons sexual preferences wouldn't make the news unless it was something like necrophilia or 2D anime girls.

The cynic in me say that all this is a naff attempt at boosting Apple's brand image and sell more phones but I'm quite sure no self respecting person would ever use identity politics in such a way, perish the thought.

Shamanic Rhythm:
Tim Cook has been rather heavily pressured by the more activist members of the gay community to use his position as Apple CEO as a public advocacy for gay rights. I've seen some rather dreadful articles that draw an entirely inappropriate link between the rates of suicide among gay teenagers and the fact that the Apple CEO wasn't public about being gay, so hopefully that will stop.

Wow that's really bad, please say no one was buying that crap.

Have any links?

who sodding cares? your gay, ok good for you, leaves more women for the rest of us. I'm straight should i wear it like a badge of honour and thus risk derogatory remarks from gay people how i'm being homophobic? honestly I see emblazing such statements so prominently shows how insecure you are rather than this is my sexual preference, deal with it. It's like when Obama was voted in and people going oh wow a black guy as president, so what? get over it it's not a big deal. Then again I'm british and we've already had a female prime minister, so what?

If you can't tell yes I am drunk and I don't give a damn what people analyse about this statement all that matters to me is ability and not ethnicity/sexuality/religion. Though I do agree saying it's god's greatest gift to me is a bullcrap phrase designed to make it sound like straight shaming.

Yeh ? And...... So what ?

I feel like a lot of the people commenting here don't seem to have that good grasp of history. Tim Cook was born in 1960 and grew up in Alabama. He was a gay teenager in Alabama in 1970s and he most definitely grew up in a culture in which homosexuality was generally considered shameful, sick and criminal. Cook's comments on being proud to be gay are related to that history.

Xan Krieger:
In related news Bill Gates is straight, Michael Sam is gay, and Kanye West is...what do you call a person that in love with themself?

Narcissistic. The term is narcissistic.

RJ 17:
Could be wrong - and I probably am :P - but that's just how I see it.

You are wrong. You probably live in some kind of fantasy land. Maybe like Skyrim... where everybody is bisexual and nobody ever remarks upon same sex relations as out of the ordinary.

hazydawn:

RJ 17:
Could be wrong - and I probably am :P - but that's just how I see it.

You are wrong. You probably live in some kind of fantasy land. Maybe like Skyrim... where everybody is bisexual and nobody ever remarks upon same sex relations as out of the ordinary.

I don't recall ever saying that "nobody ever remarks upon same sex relations" in a negative way, but rather that such people are finding themselves in the minority these days. Oh well, it's not like I have any stats or citations to back that up...then again as my previous post indicated: I simply don't care.

Have a pleasant evening.

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