Tim Cook, the CEO of tech company Apple, has finally opened up about his sexual orientation after years of hiding this from the public eye.
"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 said in an essay for Businessweek, adding that within Apple and his circle of friends he has been much more open about his sexuality:
For years, I've been open with many people about my sexual orientation. Plenty of colleagues at Apple know I'm gay, and it doesn't seem to make a difference in the way they treat me. 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.
The 53-year-old Cook has not previously discussed his sexuality but has taken a stance on LGBT rights, including a criticism of his home state of Alabama this week on the slow nature of implementing laws to guarantee the rights of people based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Cook continues: "I don't consider myself an activist, but I realise 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."
Cook says being gay does not define him entirely as he is also "an engineer, an uncle, a nature lover, a fitness nut, a son of the South, a sports fanatic, and many other things."
He asked that the media and others respect his privacy: "I hope that people will respect my desire to focus on the things I'm best suited for and the work that brings me joy."