Apple CEO Tim Cook on Thursday admitted that he is gay.
The CEO of the second largest smartphone vendor feels that his public admission may assist others.
Acknowledging that he is gay for the first time in an essay written for the latest edition of Bloomberg Businessweek, Tim Cook said: “Let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.”
Tim Cook, who became the CEO of the world’s most valuable company from the late co-founder Steve Jobs, has never publicly acknowledged his sexuality, though there were rumours.
He writes that his colleagues at Apple already knew about his gay status.
According to a news report in CNN Money, Cook said desire for privacy was stopping him from working for the benefit of others.
“I don’t consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I’ve benefited from the sacrifice of others,” he said. “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.”
Cook, who grew up in Alabama, said he has long been open about his sexual orientation, but had just not previously discussed it publicly, CNN Money reported.
“Plenty of colleagues at Apple know I’m gay, and it doesn’t seem to make a difference in the way they treat me,” he wrote. “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.”
Out magazine had previously named him as the most powerful gay person on its Power 50 list.
A year ago, Cook announced support for a federal law which would have protected workers from facing discrimination based on their sexual orientation.
“For too long, too many people have had to hide that part of their identity in the workplace,” he wrote at the time.
In December at an event organized by his alma mater Auburn University, he spoke of dealing with discrimination in his life.
“I have seen and have experienced many types of discrimination, and all of them were rooted in the fear of people that were different than the majority,” he said in that speech.