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  1. Tim Cook Says He’s ‘Proud to Be Gay’

    Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, said he was “proud to be gay” in
    an essay published early Thursday, becoming by far the most prominent
    executive of a public company to come out.

    “Let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the
    greatest gifts God has given me,” Mr. Cook wrote in the essay, published by
    Bloomberg Businessweek.

    Mr. Cook, 53, has never spoken publicly about his sexual orientation in the
    many years he has worked in the spotlight at Apple.

    In his essay, Mr. Cook also noted that he had spent much of his life trying
    to keep his personal matters private, which is why he had not previously
    spoken in public about his sexual orientation.

    “Apple is already one of the most closely watched companies in the world,”
    he wrote, “and I like keeping the focus on our products and the incredible
    things our customers achieve with them.”

    While he has never talked about it publicly, Mr. Cook’s sexuality has been
    a widely open secret in Silicon Valley. In private forums, he has alluded
    to facing difficulties growing up as a young man in Alabama, where he was
    raised for much of his childhood. He has said that human rights and dignity
    are values that need to be acted upon.

    With his essay, Mr. Cook becomes the most prominent gay man in the
    corporate world, joining a very short list of openly gay executives at
    public companies. He also defies corporate sexual identity norms; 83
    percent of gay, lesbian and bisexual people hide aspects of their identity
    at work, according to a Deloitte report.

    Silicon Valley, and technology companies in particular, have taken largely
    progressive stances on gay rights and advancement in the workplace.
    Companies like Google, Facebook and Apple participate regularly in San
    Francisco’s annual gay pride parade. And many of these companies, including
    Twitter, Intel and Apple, offer more inclusive health benefits packages to
    gay employees and their partners.

    Continue reading the main story
    Activist groups were quick to praise Mr. Cook for his essay, while lauding
    Apple’s progressive history. “Tim Cook’s announcement today will save
    countless lives,” the Human Rights Campaign, America’s largest lesbian,
    gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights group, said in a statement. “He
    has always been a role model, but today millions across the globe will draw
    inspiration from a different aspect of his life.”

    As Apple’s chief executive, he has publicly pushed for marriage equality in
    its workplace, and had consistently enacted progressive policies to
    encourage gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender candidates to work for the
    company.

    Apple has publicly supported a workplace equality bill in California, site
    of the company’s headquarters, and spoke against a bill passed in Arizona
    which Apple said discriminated against the gay community.

    Mr. Cook recently gave a speech in Alabama, in which he denounced his home
    state’s history of human rights and addressed its record of inequality for
    lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.

    “As a state, we took too long to take steps toward equality, and once we
    began, our progress was too slow,” he said at the event, where he was
    inducted into Alabama’s Academy of Honor, the highest praise the state can
    give one of its natives.

    “Too slow on equality for African-Americans. Too slow on interracial
    marriage, which was only legalized 14 years ago. And still too slow on
    equality for the L.G.B.T. community,” he said, noting that workers in
    Alabama can still be fired based on their sexual orientation.

    Arthur D. Levinson, chairman of Apple’s board, issued this statement,
    saying, “Tim has our wholehearted support and admiration in making this
    courageous personal statement.”

    Mr. Levinson added: “His decision to speak out will help advance the cause
    of equality and inclusion far beyond the business world. On behalf of the
    board and our entire company, we are incredibly proud to have Tim leading
    Apple.”

    CONTINUE READING THE MAIN STORY
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    In the essay, Mr. Cook cited Robert F. Kennedy and the Rev. Dr. Martin
    Luther King Jr., whose framed photos are on his office wall, as his
    inspiration for publishing his essay on Thursday.

    “I don’t pretend that writing this puts me in their league,” he wrote. “All
    it does is allow me to look at those pictures and know that I’m doing my
    part, however small, to help others.”

    “We pave the sunlit path toward justice together, brick by brick. This is
    my brick,” he wrote.

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