Tim Cook: "I'm proud to be gay"

CookIn a personal op-ed in Bloomberg Businessweek, Apple CEO Tim Cook comes out. Although people have thought him to be gay, and he has not denied it, Cook states it clearly now:

"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."

Cook describes his difficult decision. He clearly values his privacy but also understands the difference he can make by being openly gay: 

"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."

Being openly gay in Corporate America-particularly in the executive ranks-is rare, despite that 91% of Fortune 500 companies include sexual orientation in their anti-discrimination policies. Cook also says, "Countless people, particularly kids, face fear and abuse every day because of their sexual orientation."

Discussion Starters:

  • What's your view of Tim Cook's decision and how he chose to communicate it?
  • How do you expect employees, shareholders, customers, and others to react?