Tim Cook : “I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.“

Tim Cook : "I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.“

Apple CEO Tim Cook today publicly acknowledged his sexual orientation for the first time, explaining that, “I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.”

Although he has been open about his sexual orientation with friends and coworkers inside of Apple, Cook said that part of his reluctance to come out publicly stems from a desire to maintain “a basic level of privacy,” citing his roots as a southerner.

What changed? “I don’t consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I’ve benefited from the sacrifice of others,” he writes. “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.”

On Bloomberg Television this morning, Businessweek editor Josh Tyrangiel said that this is something Cook “had been thinking about for a while… He was very clear on what he wanted. The backstory on it is pretty simple as well. He called and asked if I could come out.”

It’s a clear and breathtaking essay that you should read in its entirety. Last December, Cook hinted at the discrimination he has faced as a gay man during a speech at Auburn University, his alma mater. And in July, Cook was a visible presence during Pride, tweeting out a simple message: “Inclusion inspires innovation.”