Apple CEO Tim Cook published an essay on Businessweek this morning on being gay, and how his coworkers at Apple have never treated him differently because of his sexual orientation.
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. Not everyone is so lucky.
Cook says being gay has given him a window to what life is like for other minorities, and has made him a more empathetic, understanding person. He says his decision to come out was difficult, considering how so much of his life is already in the public eye, but that his openness might help others who are facing adversity and bigotry in their own lives because of their sexuality.
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.