Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, has publicly proclaimed himself to be gay. “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 wrote in Businessweek.
He preceded his remarks with: “For years, I’ve been open with many people about my sexual orientation. 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.”
Cook moved deeply by the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, who said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” Cook wrote that he “often challenge myself with that question, and I’ve come to realize that my desire for personal privacy has been holding me back from doing something more important.”
And with those words Cook put himself in the forefront of LGBTQ equality.
When the Chief Executive Officer of the world’s second-largest information technology company makes such a public statement the world stops and listens.
“The company I am so fortunate to lead has long advocated for human rights and equality for all. We’ve taken a strong stand in support of a workplace equality bill before Congress, just as we stood for marriage equality in our home state of California. And we spoke up in Arizona when that state’s legislature passed a discriminatory bill targeting the gay community. We’ll continue to fight for our values, and I believe that any CEO of this incredible company, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation, would do the same. And I will personally continue to advocate for equality for all people until my toes point up,” Cook added.
But does coming out really matter anymore? Was it necessary for Tim Cook to make a public proclamation of his sexual orientation? Will it even make a difference in our fight for equality?
The answer to all these questions is an unequivocal yes!
I know from my own coming out that it empowered me to be more of who I am and what I am called to be. Whenever someone comes out it strengthens us as a whole. Whenever someone in a high profile position or office comes out it shines a powerful light on us as a minority and our worldwide struggle for equality.
Cook has set the bar high by quoting Dr. King and he knows it. He is now in the perfect position to be a powerful global advocate for our equality. Now what is more important than that?