This is Tim Cook, he’s 54 years old and worth about $400 million. He’s been CEO of Apple since August 2011, a few months before Steve Jobs died. If you’re the kind of person who follows business and tech news, then you already knew who he was, and you also knew that he was gay. Because everybody knew he was gay. Apparently he’s never been in the closet, at least not in his adult life. But he never publicly said he was gay, and that has been a big source of news ever since he took the high-profile position of Apple CEO. Many articles were written about the “rumor” that he was gay, and about the fact that no one wanted to flat-out publicly say it, because he hadn’t, so no one wanted to “out” him. But last week he wrote an article in businessweek, saying that he is gay.
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.
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. READ MORE
This has been on thing that has bugged me about this speculation about his sexuality for the past several years, many have basically demanded that he publicly come out, arguing that he has some of kind of obligation or responsibility to declare to the world that he’s gay. That always seemed presumptuous to me. I feel like people have a right to privacy and that his personal life is his own business. But some people acted like they were entitled to know everything about him, and tell him how he should live his life.
On the other hand, I have to acknowledge that my perspective on this issue may be different simply due to the fact that I’m not gay myself.
No, seriously, I’m not.
I am very adamantly pro-GLBT rights. But no matter how hard I try to empathize, I can never really know what it’s like growing up being and living as a gay person. So maybe it is good for many of them to see someone in his position openly living his life as gay, and not hiding it. He addresses this in his article when he writes:
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.
I can understand that. As a Black person, growing up I often did feel pride and admire other Black people who were in important positions and rose to fame. Especially when they were in non-stereotypical fields. I mean, yes I idolized people like Michael Jackson, and Magic Johnson, and Muhammad Ali, and Oprah, among many others, but there was something particularly special about seeing a Black person achieve success in areas that weren’t singing and dancing or rapping, acting, or playing professional sports. Like when Colin Powell became the first Black Chairman of The Joint Chiefs of Staff, or Mae Jemison became first the first Black female astronaut, when Reginald Lewis became the first Black man on the Forbes 400 list, and when Richard Parsons became CEO of Time Warner. Heck, I was even proud when Clarence Thomas got nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court. And, of course, as an adult I was proud when Barack Hussein Obama got elected President of the United States of America. It was just good to see that “we” could do more than simply entertain people.
So I guess that if I was a gay kid right now I’d feel a similar feeling of pride just to see a gay person running one of the biggest and most successful companies in the world.
However I do still think that everyone has a right to privacy. I don’t think any other gay celebrity is obligated to come out of the closet, no matter who they are. I am against “outing”, and I don’t like spreading rumors.
I said I don’t like spreading rumors!
Everyone has the right to make their own choices about how they live their lives, and should be left alone to do so.
Meanwhile…Steve Jobs memorial dismantled in Russia because of Tim Cook’s sexuality
Another very well written piece, J.R. I always find your posts to be interesting and thoughtful. Keep up the good work.
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