This past Thursday, Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, announced that he is in fact gay. I need to thank my friend and LGBT ally, Jennifer Carey, for inspiring me to write this story. While there are some that have heard this news and have responded with “so what, how does this impact Apple?” I would offer that it is still exceedingly significant when a high profile person comes out. The more visible we are individually and collectively, the stronger we are as a community. For Apple, it sends a message around the world that Apple is a company that is safe for LGBT folk.
Safety, is no small issue. There are still 29 states where it is legal to deny a human being employment, housing, and healthcare just because of their sexual orientation. Cook’s visibility will be helpful to the entire LGBT community, as Cook seems to understand:
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.
Well said! I would add that Cook’s level of risk was minimal at best. Sadly, the level of risk to be out at work is too great for too many of our LGBT family. I hope today will be a reminder of how we can support people who are out and encourage people to become visible.