At the end of October, Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook publicly came out of the closet as a gay man.
Cook wrote in Businessweek, “Throughout my professional life, I’ve tried to maintain a basic level of privacy. I come from humble roots, and I don’t seek to draw attention to myself.I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay one the greatest gifts God has given me.”
Cook is the first Fortune 500 CEO to ever come out, making his courageous declaration a historic moment in America.
This proclamation is huge step forward for LGBT people and furthers equal rights for those who desperately need support.
Cook’s bravery has further legitimized sexual diversity in this country by proving that LGBT people can find success in the professional world.
Some would argue that we are making too big a deal about this declaration, and that in 2014, someone should be able to come out of the closet without the country going too crazy over it.
Unfortunately, this is not the case because sexual diversity is still not 100 percent accepted.
When great boundaries like these are broken, we are one step closer to true equality.
Another reason this needs to be a big deal is heteronormativity, the belief that everyone we meet or encounter is straight until they explicitly come out as gay.
Ellen Page addressed this in her coming out speech when she declared that she is sick of “lying by omission.” Coming out publicly was the only way she could finally be herself. Cook probably felt the same way.
Cook’s statement is a big deal and should be treated as such. Cook’s success in business and his recent announcement provide massive inspiration to many in this country.
It is simply proof that you can power through adversity and succeed with hard work and grit.
In all honesty, a world where the CEO of Apple comes out of the closet and no one blinks an eye is a world that I hope we are headed toward.