Gay leaders need to be out of closet

December 4, 2014 Editorials Print Print

As the leader of a multinational technology corporation — specifically, the company responsible for putting iPhones in our pockets — Tim Cook is arguably one of the most powerful men alive today.

In an Oct. 30 editorial for Bloomberg Businessweek, Cook told the entire world — business colleagues and all — that he is not only homosexual, but proud of it.

“I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me,” Cook said.

“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 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.”

While Cook isn’t the first openly gay CEO in history, his coming out editorial provides a new insight for those against equality rights.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin — who has publicly opposed equality rights for same-sex couples countless times — may own an iPhone.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz — a notorious conservative in this area of the U.S. — may use an iPhone too.

In short, there’s a gay man putting society’s most advanced technology in our pockets, our vehicles, our homes — and there’s nothing we can do to stop it.

Moreover, Cook’s presence at Apple is so significant that he’s ignited a surge of confidence among gay rights activists simply by acknowledging his own sexual oriention.

“I don’t consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I’ve benefited from the sacrifice of others,” Cook said.

“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.”

In my opinion, major leaders of any sort should follow suit.

LGBT individuals are everywhere — and they’re just like anyone else. They command soldiers, lead congregations and inspire masses.

While I acknowledge the complications of coming out and understand there are setbacks to doing so, there’s more harm caused by staying silent than speaking out.

Besides, if you’re a major political leader, a wealthy businessman or perhaps a college president in a conservative state, your story can cause a significant impact and even prompt change.

Janis Ian from “Mean Girls” said it best:

“There are two kinds of evil people in this world — those who do evil stuff and those who see evil stuff being done and don’t try to stop it.”

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