Welcome Out, Tim Cook

Jim Burroway

October 30th, 2014

Tim CookThe fact that he’s gay is probably one of the worst kept secrets — if, indeed, it ever was a secret. The Apple CEO has rarely spoken about anything other than Apple. Unlike his predecessor, Steve Jobs, whose persona and that of Apple’s was one and the same, Tim Cook has always been one to stand back and keep the focus on Apple and its products. That probably won’t change a whole lot, but this morning, in an essay for Businessweek, Cook removed whatever wisps of ambiguity that may still be out there:

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.

Being gay has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be in the minority and provided a window into the challenges that people in other minority groups deal with every day. It’s made me more empathetic, which has led to a richer life. It’s been tough and uncomfortable at times, but it has given me the confidence to be myself, to follow my own path, and to rise above adversity and bigotry. It’s also given me the skin of a rhinoceros, which comes in handy when you’re the CEO of Apple.

The world has changed so much since I was a kid. America is moving toward marriage equality, and the public figures who have bravely come out have helped change perceptions and made our culture more tolerant. Still, there are laws on the books in a majority of states that allow employers to fire people based solely on their sexual orientation. There are many places where landlords can evict tenants for being gay, or where we can be barred from visiting sick partners and sharing in their legacies. Countless people, particularly kids, face fear and abuse every day because of their sexual orientation.

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.

Earlier this week, Cook was in his home state of Alabama where he was being inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor. In his acceptance speech, he challenged Alabama for its slowness to grant equality to everyone: “As a state, we took too long to steps toward equality. We were too slow on equality for African-Americans. We were too slow on interracial marriage, and we are still too slow for the equality for the LGBT community.”

Richard Rush

October 30th, 2014

Tim Cook has just become the apple of my eye.


October 30th, 2014

Maybe I’ll seriously consider an Apple when I have to replace this box. I’ll have to start saving my pennies and my dollars, but hey, I can’t take it with me.


October 30th, 2014

Are there really any BTB regulars who did NOT know this???

When he was first identified as the hand-picked successor to Steve Jobs, there were tons of articles mentioning he was gay and would become the highest-profile gay CEO of a Fortune 50 company. I am pretty sure it was mentioned here, as well.

Priya Lynn

October 30th, 2014

“Are there really any BTB regulars who did NOT know this??? “.

Count me in on that. In fact I can’t think of a single one of these coming out stories that BTB described as “one of the worst kept secrets” where I knew that person was gay or lesbian before reading it here.


October 30th, 2014

OK. Then maybe I just know too many gay Apple evangelists :)

Of course I only own a barely-working 3rd Gen iPod and that’s about it. (Well, that and a few shares of Apple stock that I bought right at its pre-split peak :-/ )

Priya Lynn

October 30th, 2014

I don’t own any apple products. I looked at some Apple PC’s in the spring but ended up getting the much cheaper microsoft PC so I could spend the difference on some car parts. I’m kind of regretting not making the move to apple now though.


October 30th, 2014

MattNYC, not sure what you mean with the emoticon about the pre-split peak. The pre-split peak was in September 2012, at 100.72 (adjusted for split); today it closed at 106.98. Not a huge return over two years, but not terrible.


October 31st, 2014

I meant the more recent peak DAYS before the shares lost 40% of their value…


November 2nd, 2014

A quibble. There are not “laws on the books” that allow employers to fire persons due to sexual orientation.

It is the absence of law against that action that allows it.

Beyond that, his statement of what a minority status teaches us all—or ought to teach us—is exactly right.

How it escapes so many (you reading this, Bishop Henry Jackson, et al?) is a mystery right up there with, say, the virgin birth.

enough already

November 3rd, 2014

It doesn’t escape them. The conservative Christians use us in exactly the same way the Nazis used the Jews. It’s far easier to get people to hate ‘the other’ than to actually invest effort in improving their own situation.

Sadly, we will remain without any form of protection for quite a while longer in most states. Young women and gay men simply refuse, as a group, to vote their own interests.

enough already

November 3rd, 2014

Goodness, I thought everyone knew he was gay.
It’s been ‘common knowledge’ forever.

I usually make an effort to support gay-friendly companies. Cadillac instead of Lincoln, for instance.
In this case, though, my distaste for the macfanboyz and their arrogance is so strong, I simply refuse to buy apple anything.

Priya Lynn

November 3rd, 2014

Judging by the many recent “Cook comes out as gay” articles in various media outlets I think its obvious a lot of people didn’t know he was gay.

Priya Lynn

November 3rd, 2014

Not at all “common knowledge”.


November 3rd, 2014

Russian memorial to Apple founder dismantled after CEO comes out


enough already

November 3rd, 2014

Priya, I stand corrected. It was common knowledge among gay men who follow business and political news for many, many years.
You come from a different corner of our queer world than I do. This is why, I think, we often butt heads although many our general goals – civil and human rights for all queers – overlap.
Nor is the reaction in Russia relevant, Russian paranoia and scapegoating is as old as their culture.


November 3rd, 2014

@enough already:

Young women and gay men simply refuse, as a group, to vote their own interests.

Really? On what evidence?

And even worse, for this reason “we will remain without any form of protection for quite a while longer. . . .”

Really? Among what age groups do you think support for marriage equality is strongest? Which age groups are most supportive of non-discrimination statutes?

I’m 26, so I’m youngish. And I’m also in the age group most reliably supportive of our issues.

Further, I vote and so does my cohort. I’m not a single-issue voter (which I consider foolish), but I never “refuse” to vote for my interests as a gay man, nor do I know anyone who would. Your statement that we do so—in some sort of bloc—is pure nonsense.

(Written on an Apple product.)

Priya Lynn

November 3rd, 2014

Soren, the majority of young people currently support the Republicans for the mid-term elections. They are not voting their interests. Republicans oppose raising the minimum wage, republicans oppose financial aid for education, Republicans oppose allowing young people to stay on their parents health insurance. Republicans favour lowering taxes on the rich and shifting more of the tax burden to the poor (young people)


November 3rd, 2014

@Priya Lynn:

I’ll stand with what I said: Nonsense.

I asked for evidence, and you don’t supply it.

So, again, what’s your evidence—particularly evidence to support the assertion above that this is a persistent, ongoing “refusal” to vote for our interests?

That’s what I responded to. You ignored that and raised a different (and I think specious) issue.

Try again.

Priya Lynn

November 3rd, 2014

Yes, Soren, just after I wrote that I saw you weren’t referring to exactly what I wrote but thought the point was still valid and decided to post it anyway.

I believe most gay men and young women vote Democrat but a large percentage of poor people do vote Republican and currently the majority of 18-29 year olds plan to vote Republican which is voting against their own interests.

Having said that, I find totally unbelievable your claim that you don’t know anyone who would vote against their interests as a gay man. Just one trip to Gay Patriot shows what an absurd claim that is.

Priya Lynn

November 3rd, 2014


Priya Lynn

November 3rd, 2014

A tiny percentage of gay men and young women could make the case that its in their best interests to vote republican because they’re in the top 10% of population with the highest net worth or income and that that outweighs concerns over Republican discrimination against gays or women. However of the vast majority of gay men and young women that do vote Republican there’s no debating that they are voting against their own self-interest.

Priya Lynn

November 3rd, 2014

Or I suppose a handful of young women or gay men could make the case that in one particular rare case their Republican candidate is better on gay or women’s issues than the Democrat candidate but once again the vast majority of gay men and women that vote Republican are voting against their own self-interest



November 3rd, 2014

@Priya Lynn:

Thanks for the links.

The first of them is genuinely frightening. Considering its date, I’m willing to accept it as a dominant current opinion.

But it also represents a change that is very, very abrupt; a simple google search on the question delivers links distinctly and significantly opposed to your first. But the dates are older, so . . . .

I’m no more a statistician than you are (which is to say, not much), so I don’t know what such an abrupt change might mean—both in terms of poll-taking itself or in terms of lasting political sentiment. One does hope that it is a blip.

I do continue to challenge the allegation that “young women and gay men simply refuse, as a group, to vote their own interests” as if that were an historic and chronic truth. The person who posted it needs to support it. (Your first link does not support that assertion.) Insofar as we are part of the larger demographic, with a history longer than the present moment, that statement is false. And reckless.

Finally, my family has considerable wealth (to the extent that I know of it), as do the families of most of my friends, gay and straight. The political atmosphere in which I live is distinctly liberal and progressive, and in my case at least, learned from my parents and aunts and uncles.

Your apparent belief that persons in our situation are only self-concerned and cannot have such politics is a demeaning caricature.

I have never been to the “gay patriot” site.

Priya Lynn

November 3rd, 2014

Soren, perhaps you missed my previous statement where I said I believe most gay men and young women vote Democrat. Although I can see I gave the impression that I agreed young women and gay men refuse to vote their own interests as a historic and chronic truth I don’t agree with that.

I was also very suprised about the poll showing 18-29 year olds mostly supporting the Republican party – historically it has not been that way.

I didn’t mean to suggest all wealthy people are self-interested, I know many are not and vote Democrat out of the belief that “We’re all in this together.”.


November 4th, 2014

Soren, to take some of the heat off Priya Lynn, I would like to point out that “enough already” is a fatalist who thinks we are all doomed. EA has posted many times about how LGBT people need to stop being lazy, GOP supporters and actually go out and vote, and be sure our vote is for Democrats. Nothing is ever that simple, and like you, I don’t know any large bloc of LGBT people who either don’t vote or consistently vote against their interests. Even, as PL points out, voting GOP is not necessarily always a vote against all of any particular person’s interests. That said, it is easy to get aggravated with EA for being so pessimistic, but it really isn’t worth the effort. All you ended up doing was arguing with someone who agrees with you on the important points, though perhaps holds a more concerned perspective than you on some minor points.

Timothy Kincaid

November 4th, 2014

We must also consider that young people may see competing interests.

The items that seem obviously in “their own interest” may reflect one’s own personal biases rather than what a younger person may see as in their long term best interest.

I think it probable that the reports of younger people voting Republican reflects their discontent with current economic situations and a feeling of distrust for the long-term viability of current policy. It may well be that these interests outweigh what others may see as their best interests, such as minimum wage or mandatory health care.

Ultimately, people vote for what they believe to be the outcome which they want. To assert that one knows better than they do about “their best interest” is to display contempt for them and their decisions.

It reminds me a bit of those raging homophobe who want draconian laws against gay people, “for their best interest”.

enough already

November 5th, 2014

Nathaniel, ‘fatalist’ is too optimistic a word for my perspective on our politics.

Let’s wait a few weeks until we have some half-way decent information on how gays and young women voted and then see whether I’m just full of it or there really is a problem getting these two groups to recognize the danger the Republicans’ goals pose to their civil rights.

enough already

November 11th, 2014

We now have a fairly reliably set of statistics to work with.
A link to a reasonable analysis, in plain English on voter turnout by age group and voter support for one party over the other by age-group:

I won’t even try to suggest a number for LGBT voters. We’d disagree on that with certainty. Doesn’t matter, we can (I dare to venture) agree that the same number of people in each age-demographic of voters are members of the LGBT community.

So – it looks like young women and gay men did, indeed, not vote their own interest this election.

It’s easy to look at the people with whom one interacts the most and to assume that they represent everyone else. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’m a very well-off gay man, married to a gay man for over thirty years, and yet I’m a yellow-dog Democrat. Nearly all my straight acquaintances and friends are Republicans, regardless of their income Nearly all my LGBT friends are Democrats, and almost none voted. What does that mean nationally?
Exactly as much as your circle of LGBT friends who are the exact opposite to mine.

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