Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly confirmed he is gay in an opinion piece published Thursday, making him the highest-profile chief executive to come out.
In an essay published by Businessweek advocating for human rights and equality, Cook says he was inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King to set aside his desire for privacy to do something “more important.”
“While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now,” writes Cook. “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 says he’s been open with others about being gay, but felt compelled to publicly come out to help others. “I don’t consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I’ve benefited from the sacrifice of others,” writes Cook. “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.”
Cook’s piece published days after the Apple CEO criticized his home state of Alabama over gay rights. “We can’t change the past, but we can learn from it, and we can create a different future,” said Cook.