Four years after Tim Cook became the first Fortune 500 chief executive to publicly acknowledge that he was gay, he says that his sexual orientation is “God’s greatest gift to me.”
He said he considered himself to be a private person but confirmed his sexual orientation on Oct. 30, 2014, after hearing from young people who were being bullied.
“I was public because I began to receive stories from kids who read something online that I was gay, and they were going through being bullied, feeling like their family didn’t love them, being pushed out of their home, very close to suicide, I mean, things that just really pulled my heart,” Cook said.
He decided that he was being selfish not to share his sexual orientation. “I need to be bigger than that,” he said he told himself. “I need to do something for them and show them that you can be gay and still go on to do some big jobs in life, that there’s a path there.”
Although he is happy that other CEOs have come out since he went public, Cook said, that was not his goal.
He also said: “My strong view is everybody should be treated with dignity and respect. And that’s the way I look at everyone regardless of their sexual orientation, regardless of their religion, their gender, their ethnic history, regardless of their gender identity, anything.”