Apple CEO Tim Cook made a big announcement on Thursday, Oct. 30 — but this one had nothing to do with the launch of a new iPhone. The business exec, 53, publicly came out as gay in a powerful essay for Bloomberg Businessweek, saying his "desire for personal privacy has been holding [him] back from doing something more important."
Cook began his essay by noting that he's been open with many of his Apple colleagues about his sexuality, and that "it doesn't seem to make a difference" in the way he's treated at work. "Not everyone is so lucky," he wrote.
"While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven't publicly acknowledged it either, until now," he continued. "So let me be clear: I'm proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me."
The essay goes on to explain how being gay has made Cook a "more empathetic" person. "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," he shared.
That adversity and bigotry, in fact, is what inspired Cook to speak up. Citing laws that discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation, he wrote, "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."
This is not the first time Cook's sexuality has made headlines. Earlier this year, CNBC anchor Simon Hobbs accidentally outed the businessman during a live segment about gay CEOs. "I think Tim Cook is open about the fact that he's gay, isn't he?" Hobbs asked his co-anchors, who responded with uncomfortable silence. "Oh dear, was that an error? I thought he was open about it."
Read Cook's full essay here.