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Apple CEO Tim Cook: "I’m Proud To Be Gay"

The CEO of Apple said he identifies as gay in an article Thursday for Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that he identifies as gay in a personal essay for Bloomberg BusinessWeek published Thursday.

"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 wrote.

He said that, over the years, he told many people about his 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," he wrote, adding that he was "lucky" to work at a company that is accepting of him.

Cook has fiercely guarded his privacy even as he runs one of the world's most recognized companies. But, he wrote, he felt that desire for privacy was holding him back "from doing something more important."

"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," Cook wrote, adding that it gave him the confidence "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," he said.

Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said the announcement "will save countless lives." The group called it a "courageous step forward.

"In doing so, he committed himself to using the influence that comes with heading of one of the world's largest corporations to fight for the rights and equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people across America," HRC said.

Cook advocates for LGBT rights, and recently criticized his home state, Alabama, for being "still too slow on equality." He specifically pointed to an Alabama law that allows employers to fire workers based on sexual orientation.

Auburn University, Cook's alma mater in Alabama, said the university community "was proud of Tim as a student, and we're proud of him as a distinguished alum and member of the Auburn family."

Former President Bill Clinton tweeted From one son of the South and sports fanatic to another, my hat's off to you, @Tim_cook."

In the BusinessWeek piece, he mentioned "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."

"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," he wrote.

Hedge fund manager Whitney Tilson called it a "seminal moment when the CEO of the most valuable company on the planet...comes out. And not just by quietly acknowledging it, but with a full-throated roar, saying it's helped him in his career."

Earlier this year, a CNBC anchor mistakenly said on air that Cook was "open" about being gay – a comment that was met with silence by fellow panelists.

An outpouring of support – for Cook and Apple – followed the announcement:

From one son of the South and sports fanatic to another, my hat's off to you, @Tim_cook. http://t.co/1dXvRa2Nhu

Bill Clinton@billclintonFollow

From one son of the South and sports fanatic to another, my hat's off to you, @Tim_cook. http://t.co/1dXvRa2Nhu

1:15 PM - 30 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

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@tim_cook Proud of my friend and colleague! http://t.co/PzABpsoWWH

Eddy Cue@cueFollow

@tim_cook Proud of my friend and colleague! http://t.co/PzABpsoWWH

9:58 AM - 30 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

So inspired by @tim_cook's courage this morn. He is beloved in his home state of Alabama where many LGBT young ppl need this kind of hope.

Chad Griffin@ChadHGriffinFollow

So inspired by @tim_cook's courage this morn. He is beloved in his home state of Alabama where many LGBT young ppl need this kind of hope.

9:15 AM - 30 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Lloyd on @Tim_Cook in @BW - "His words resonate, especially the importance of a workplace that embraces people's differences."

Goldman Sachs@GoldmanSachsFollow

Lloyd on @Tim_Cook in @BW - "His words resonate, especially the importance of a workplace that embraces people's differences."

1:20 PM - 30 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

so proud of tim cook. knowing the apple CEO is gay will comfort and inspire so many young people who are afraid. maybe it already has.

Jordan Crook@jordanrcrookFollow

so proud of tim cook. knowing the apple CEO is gay will comfort and inspire so many young people who are afraid. maybe it already has.

8:36 AM - 30 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Major kudos @tim_cook for adding your brick. Making it easier for others. Drawing society 1 step closer to acceptance http://t.co/MsiisRHDOE

Mark Suster@msusterFollow

Major kudos @tim_cook for adding your brick. Making it easier for others. Drawing society 1 step closer to acceptance http://t.co/MsiisRHDOE

9:10 AM - 30 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

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Inspirational words from Apple CEO Tim Cook on being gay, and standing up for equality http://t.co/5UXOc6vGY9

Richard Branson@richardbransonFollow

Inspirational words from Apple CEO Tim Cook on being gay, and standing up for equality http://t.co/5UXOc6vGY9

10:35 AM - 30 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Some backstory to the announcement: Cook reached out to BusinessWeek about writing the piece

bloomberg.com

"He was very clear on what he wanted," editor Josh Tyrangiel said. "He called and asked if I can come out, and we had a conversation, and he had something written."

In June, a CNBC anchor mistakenly said Cook was "open" about being gay.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

The panel joining Simon Hobbs met his comment with silence. "“I thought he was open about it," Hobbs said.

Tom Namako is the deputy news director for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Tom Namako at tom.namako@buzzfeed.com.

Saeed Jones is executive editor, culture for BuzzFeed and the author of the poetry collection Prelude to Bruise, and is based in New York.

Contact Saeed Jones at saeed.jones@buzzfeed.com.

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