Apple’s Chief Executive Officer, Tim Cook, has spoken about being the first head of a major company to come out.
‘I did not do it for other CEOs to come out,’ Cook told CNN on Wednesday (24 October).
He went public with his sexuality in 2014. He said hearing stories about children being bullied because of their sexuality and feeling unloved by their families urged him to do so.
‘Things that just really pulled my heart,’ Cook said.
He said he felt ‘very proud’ of his sexuality and described it as ‘God’s greatest gift to me’.
Although he was a private person, he explained, Cook said he felt selfish in not sharing his sexual orientation.
‘I need to do something for them and show them that you can be gay and still go on to do some big jobs in life, that there’s a path there’, he said he told himself.
He also said everybody should be treated with dignity and respect, ‘regardless of their sexual orientation, regardless of their religion, their gender, their ethnic history, regardless of their gender identity, anything’.
Coming out is good for business
Cook made headlines when he came out as gay in October 2014.
He said he was acting on advice from his predecessor, Steve Jobs, that he should ‘be himself’ when he took over the company. He also reportedly consulted journalist Anderson Cooper.
It looked at the Apple CEO publicly speaking out against the passing of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in Indiana in early 2015.
Cook and Apple have since been at the forefront of promoting LGBTI rights in the USA and beyond.