Apple CEO Tim Cook

After years of speculation about his sexuality, the CEO of one of the world’s most powerful companies has confirmed that he is gay.

In an article for Bloomberg Businessweek, the head of Apple, Tim Cook, wrote on Thursday: “I’m proud to be gay.”

Cook, 53, took over as CEO of the technology giant on August 24, 2011, following the death of the company’s co-founder Steve Jobs.

The American business executive said that while he had never denied his sexuality, he hadn’t “publicly acknowledged it either, until now.”

Cook admitted that throughout his career he’d tried to maintain a basic level of privacy and hadn’t sought to draw attention to himself.

“I’ve come to realise that my desire for personal privacy has been holding me back from doing something more important. That’s what has led me to today,” he said, “adding that “I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.”

He explained: “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,” wrote Cook.

“I don’t consider myself an activist, but I realise 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,” he said.

Apple has been a long-time supporter of the LGBT community, with the company taking part in Pride events, promoting workplace equality and publicly calling for same-sex marriage rights in the US.

America’s Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President, Chad Griffin, welcomed Cook’s coming out, stating that his announcement “will save countless lives.”

“He has always been a role model, but today millions across the globe will draw inspiration from a different aspect of his life,” said Griffin. “Tim Cook is proof that LGBT young people can dream as big as their minds will allow them to, whether they want to be doctors, a US Senator, or even CEO of the world’s biggest brand.”

Read Cook’s full article here.

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