Note: While I do understand that a very personal subject relating to the CEO of Apple has literally nothing to do with me, considering that he has made it public and is therefore public information, and this blog is all about me, I am going to make it all about myself.
Apparently this is old news. However, I only found out yesterday. So this is new news to me. When I first heard, I was quite shocked. For some reason, I never attributed any kind of sexuality to Tim Cook, or any major CEO for that matter. I just never thought about him as anything other than the CEO of the world's most valuable company. And while I realise now that he is as much a human being as I am, his personal life really is none of my business.
But then, yesterday's public acknowledgement was not for me. It was for others who would be able to identify with him at a completely different level now that he made this information public. And while my first reaction of shock quickly turned to embarrassment and essentially a confused mass of 'not-quite-sure-how-I-should-react-to-this-without-coming-across-as-completely-bigoted', I thought about the weight of this announcement.
The fact remains that had this been anybody else, it wouldn't really have been that big a deal. But this is Tim Cook. Tim Cook runs Apple, a company that is still strongly associated with it's co-founder, and he does the terribly difficult job of being the first CEO of the most valuable company in the world after it's co-founder. And while there is some debate about the quality of innovative products Apple has been producing over the last few years, the fact remains that for a person at that level to come out as gay, it is a pretty big deal. Considering that Apple does business with practically every country in the world, including governments and private entities, and that homosexuality has differing legal status globally, this is a big deal.
Maybe a move like this will lead to a more unified and open legal recognition globally. It's difficult to have a more important spokesperson than Mr. Cook. It is refreshing to hear a business leader talk so openly and personally about themselves, and in many ways, it makes him more human. I only hope that his legacy is not consolidated on just this fact. It would be a great disservice to his acumen and his accomplishments. But it is important to recognise the gravity of his announcement. It took him becoming CEO of Apple (for a while) to publicly announce such a thing. It really shouldn't be that difficult for people to do so.
In an effort to make it more relevant to myself, I thought about how I would feel if he had to come out and say he was Muslim. I would've been very proud, and would've thanked him for it, for showing the world that being Muslim does not mean something negative and deplorable. In fact, as a contributing and functioning member of society, any personal announcement he would've made should be celebrated. In any case, his announcement was extremely personal and hurts no one. But he still did so to show support and courage to those who still can't do what he did. Not many can, after all, there is only one CEO of Apple.
Maybe a day will come when such announcements will not be a big deal. But we've still to deal with a lot of bigotry over a lot of different human characteristics. We're not quite there yet. But maybe this is a step to catalyse things for the better.