Apple CEO Tim Cook "proud to be gay"

Apple CEO Tim Cook has publicly and openly discussed his sexuality for the first time, penning a coming out story in which he acknowledges that "I'm proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me." The letter, which begins by reiterating Cook's notorious desire for privacy – despite being chief executive of one of the largest companies in the world, and certainly one of the most visible in the technology space – not only traces his steps to talking about his sexual orientation, but touches on issues of discrimination and the ways in which he would like the news to be taken.

In the piece, posted by Bloomberg Businessweek, Cook talks about the advantages of being gay and how it has shaped his role following iconic Apple founder Steve Jobs. As well as a greater empathy with other discriminated-against minorities, he says, it's given him "the confidence to be myself" along with "the skin of a rhinoceros" when it comes to dealing with criticism.

That recognition, Cook writes, has led to today's announcement. Cook looked at the balance between what could be achieved by talking publicly about his homosexuality and the personal value he placed on his privacy, and decided that some of the latter could be sacrificed if it in turn benefited other people struggling with their own identity.

"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" Tim Cook, CEO, Apple

Cook's sexuality has been a recurring topic among some parts of the tech and business community, though the CEO has until now declined to discuss his personal life. In 2014, he marched with Apple employees at the San Francisco gay pride parade, and he has hinted at details in previous public appearances.

This frank discussion, however, is several steps beyond that. Cook is quite possibly one of the most visible chief executives of a company in the world, and his willingness to discuss his sexuality is likely to bring the topic to boardrooms, dining tables, and workplaces globally.

SOURCE Bloomberg Businessweek