“I’m a private person by nature. Growing up I was taught that you distinguish yourself in life by what you do, not by what you say or how loudly you say it. But sometimes you just have to be loud,” Cook said.
“Because people need to hear that being gay is not a limitation. People need to hear that being gay doesn’t restrict your options in life. People need to hear that you can be gay or transgender and be whatever else you want to in life – a CEO or a senator, an Olympic athlete, an awarding winning actor or actress, and amazing husband, wife, father, or mother.”
Cook went on to tell the audience that while the US has made major progress in LGBT equality, thirty-one states still have no laws to protect LGBT people from discrimination and the day on which full equality is achieved has not yet arrived.
“That day is not here yet because kids are still being told they’ll never amount to anything, or get sent to reparative therapy for a cure, or get bullied to the brink of suicide, or get pushed into believing they’re somehow defective when they’re just the way that God made them.
“That day is not here yet when some people claim exemption from what’s written in the Constitution that no state shall deny Americans the equal protection of the laws. That day is not here,” said Cook.
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. Cook, 54, took over as CEO of the technology giant in August 2011, following the death of the company’s co-founder Steve Jobs.
The HRC dinner was also attended by US Vice President (and possible presidential contender) Joe Biden who said that “love is not a political matter, it’s a basic human right.”