WASHINGTON – Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly acknowledged his homosexuality in an essay published Thursday in which he said he is “proud to be gay,” something that he considers to be “one of the greatest gifts” God has given him.
“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,” wrote Cook, one of the world’s most powerful businessmen, in the essay published by Bloomberg BusinessWeek.
Cook, originally from Alabama, recalled his “humble roots” and the fact that throughout his business life he had never sought to “draw attention to myself.”
But he went on to say that he was inspired by civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in deciding to leave his “desire for personal privacy” behind and do “something more important,” such as speak out publicly about his homosexuality so that he can help other people in the same situation.
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 said.
“It’s made me more empathetic, which has led to a richer life, he continued, acknowledging that “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.”
Cook, who took over at Apple in August 2011, a few months before the death of iconic cofounder Steve Jobs, said that the world “has changed so much” since he was a boy and the United States “is moving toward marriage equality” for same-sex couples.
Nevertheless, in many states laws still exist that allow employers to fire a person “based solely on their sexual orientation,” he noted.