In a letter published by Bloomberg Businessweek Apple CEO Tim Cook acknowledged publically that he is gay. Looking back on past panels gone off script and rather underhanded speculation by particular websites known for gossip Cook’s sexuality was alluded to but mostly unknown until now.
The importance of this public statement by Tim Cook is that for the first time a Fortune 500 CEO, while still acting as chief executive, has admitted to being gay. Three days before the letter in Bloomberg was published Tim Cook was advocating LGBT rights in his home state of Alabama. The Southern state currently does not recognize same-sex marriage and lacks policy protections for sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination.
“The world has changed so much since I was a kid. America is moving toward marriage equality, and the public figures who have bravely come out have helped change perceptions and made our culture more tolerant. Still, there are laws on the books in a majority of states that allow employers to fire people based solely on their sexual orientation. There are many places where landlords can evict tenants for being gay, or where we can be barred from visiting sick partners and sharing in their legacies. Countless people, particularly kids, face fear and abuse every day because of their sexual orientation.”
Tim Cook says in the letter that despite being a very private person his decision to go public with this part of his life was done so on the basis that it might be able to help someone struggling with his or her identity and any possible discrimination.
“I don’t consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I’ve benefited from the sacrifice of others. 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.”
According to many technology and business pundits Apple is one of the most monitored companies in the industry. It serves as a key Fortune 500 company with the Apple brand remaining extraordinarily popular and relevant in the mainstream of tech devices. Some pundits have already speculated that this public admission may harm Apple, as a multinational corporation, in certain countries that have negative views of LGBT individuals. Others consider Apple too large in scale to be hindered merely by the chief executive of the company publically admitting to being gay.