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Apple's Tim Cook on how being gay made him a better CEO

Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on September 9, 2014 in Cupertino, California.
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on September 9, 2014 in Cupertino, California.
(Justin Sullivan/Getty)

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, came out as gay in a essay for Bloomberg Businessweek this morning.

Acknowledging that Apple is one of the world's most closely-watched companies, Cook said he liked "keeping the focus on our products and the incredible things our customers achieve with them." He didn't want discussions of his sexuality to distract from conversations about the almost $500 billion company he's running.

However, this impulse was challenged by a simple quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.: "What are you doing for others?" With that question, Cook said, "I've come to realize that my desire for personal privacy has been holding me back from doing something more important." Though he admits he's "not an activist," Cook said, "if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is … then it's worth the trade-off with my own privacy."

Here is an excerpt from the announcement. You can read Cook's entire piece here.

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.

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.

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