Tim Cook, Apple CEO, has broken his public silence on his sexual orientation. In an interview with Businessweek, Cook let his personal life all out on the table, and he is not the least bit ashamed.

“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.”

He admits that throughout his years as a professional he has maintained a basic level of privacy. Coming from a humble home, he always learned not to seek attention to himself and since Apple is, in fact, one of the most closely watched companies in the world – Tim Cook has used those lessons learned at home and has always kept the public focus on their products and not the personal lives of employees.

tim cook 2Image via Bloomberg Businessweek

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Despite never publicly sharing his sexuality, Cook has been open with everyone in his personal life, in and out of work, about his orientation and many (if not all) of his colleagues know he is gay and it does not make the least bit of a difference in how he is treated.

Cook shares that being gay has given him a deeper understanding of what it means to be in the minority, which has provided a window into the challenges that people in other minority groups go through on a daily basis. It has also made him more empathetic. Admitting that although it has been tough and uncomfortable at times, it has given him the confidence to be himself, to follow his own path, and to rise above adversity and bigotry – giving Tim Cook the skin of a rhinoceros, which can be very useful when you are the CEO of Apple.

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He often lives by the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, who said: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ ”

“I often challenge myself with that question, and I’ve come to realize that my desire for personal privacy has been holding me back from doing something more important. That’s what has led me to today.”

Even prior to his public announcement, Cook has encouraged LGBT rights on a national level.

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