Raymon Mens
Raymon Mens Nieuws 30 oktober 2014

Tim Cook komt officieel uit de kast

Hoewel Tim Cook de focus graag op de producten van Apple houdt, heeft hij nu een persoonlijke boodschap. De CEO komt met een persoonlijk verhaal in Bloomberg Business Week uit de kast. Er gingen al enige tijd geruchten over zijn geaardheid.

Met de woorden “I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me” laat Tim Cook de wereld weten wat collega’s bij Apple en bekenden al langer wisten. Cook wil met zijn coming out een bijdrage leveren aan de acceptatie van homoseksuelen in de samenleving.

Cook zegt zijn geaardheid nooit publiekelijk ontkend of bevestigd te hebben. Hij is gesteld op zijn privacy en wilde zijn geaardheid daarom niet aan de grote klok hangen. Dit weerhield hem er niet van om zich uit te spreken voor gelijkheid en samen met Apple-medewerkers mee te lopen in de Pride van San Francisco. Daar was hij duidelijk in zijn element.

Tim Cook liep samen met 5000 Apple-medewerkers mee in de San Francisco Pride.

Een rijker leven en olifantshuid
Door zijn geaardheid heeft Cook ervaren hoe het is om onderdeel van een minderheid te zijn. Hierdoor kan hij zich beter inleven in de moeilijkheden waar minderheden in de samenleving mee te maken hebben. De CEO omschrijft dat zijn leven als homo niet altijd makkelijk was, maar dat hij door zichzelf te zijn en te doen wat hij wilde sterker in het leven staat. Ook heeft hij er een olifantshuid door gekregen en dat is handig als je CEO van Apple bent.

Bijdrage aan acceptatie
Apple staat bekend als bedrijf dat creativiteit en gelijkheid hoog in het vaandel heeft staat. Dat het gezicht van het meest waardevolle merk ter wereld nu openlijk gay is, gaat ongetwijfeld bijdragen aan wereldwijde acceptatie. Dit was voor Cook ook de voornaamste reden om kast te openen. In zijn brief omschrijft hij zichzelf niet als activist, maar wil vanuit zijn rol als CEO van Apple een bijdrage blijven leveren aan de acceptatie van homo’s.

Dit is het hele verhaal van Tim Cook:

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. Apple is already one of the most closely watched companies in the world, and I like keeping the focus on our products and the incredible things our customers achieve with them.

At the same time, I believe deeply in 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.

For years, I’ve been open with many people about my sexual orientation. Plenty of colleagues at Apple know I’m gay, and it doesn’t seem to make a difference in the way they treat me. Of course, I’ve had the good fortune to work at a company that loves creativity and innovation and knows it can only flourish when you embrace people’s differences. Not everyone is so lucky.

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.

The world has changed so much since I was a kid. America is moving toward marriage equality, and the public figures who have bravely come out have helped change perceptions and made our culture more tolerant. Still, there are laws on the books in a majority of states that allow employers to fire people based solely on their sexual orientation. There are many places where landlords can evict tenants for being gay, or where we can be barred from visiting sick partners and sharing in their legacies. Countless people, particularly kids, face fear and abuse every day because of their sexual orientation.

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

I’ll admit that this wasn’t an easy choice. Privacy remains important to me, and I’d like to hold on to a small amount of it. I’ve made Apple my life’s work, and I will continue to spend virtually all of my waking time focused on being the best CEO I can be. That’s what our employees deserve—and our customers, developers, shareholders, and supplier partners deserve it, too. Part of social progress is understanding that a person is not defined only by one’s sexuality, race, or gender. I’m an engineer, an uncle, a nature lover, a fitness nut, a son of the South, a sports fanatic, and many other things. I hope that people will respect my desire to focus on the things I’m best suited for and the work that brings me joy.

The company I am so fortunate to lead has long advocated for human rights and equality for all. We’ve taken a strong stand in support of a workplace equality bill before Congress, just as we stood for marriage equality in our home state of California. And we spoke up in Arizona when that state’s legislature passed a discriminatory bill targeting the gay community. We’ll continue to fight for our values, and I believe that any CEO of this incredible company, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation, would do the same. And I will personally continue to advocate for equality for all people until my toes point up.

When I arrive in my office each morning, I’m greeted by framed photos of Dr. King and Robert F. Kennedy. I don’t pretend that writing this puts me in their league. All it does is allow me to look at those pictures and know that I’m doing my part, however small, to help others. We pave the sunlit path toward justice together, brick by brick. This is my brick.

https://twitter.com/hunterwalk/status/527782309366603777

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