Last Saturday, I woke up to some news that Tim Cook, Apple CEO, publicly declared that he was “proud to be gay.” I was psyched, stoked, ecstatic and gay (duh)! I mean, the CEO of the most valuable company in the world just joined our force to turn all the remaining human being on earth, particularly those using Apple products, into gays. Or so those homophobic pricks say.
After the news broke, a lot of people reacted in positive manner including Bill Clinton and Mark Zuckerberg. They congratulated and praised him for his bravery. Seriously, by the time I finished reading his coming out statement, I wished I could hug him in person and said: “thank you so, so much, Tim.”
But there are also people who will piss on your (gay pride) parade no matter what.
Some people on Twitter urged us to just move on. Some said that what Tim was doing was some kind of “agenda.” Meanwhile some author from Business Insider kindly reminds us all that Tim’s statement won’t help Apple’s stock soar. Even the person who’s business-blind like me knows that that’s true. I also believe that it won’t make any difference to iPhone sales. Hell, I don’t think his statement will make me run to the nearest retailer to buy some random iDevice and turn me into one of those Apple fangirls.
And don’t get me started on Marketwatch’s ridiculous article listing “14 facts about Tim Cook more interesting than his sexual orientation.”
Seriously, someone has to tell these people that Tim Cook doesn’t speak to Apple/potential customers or insidious businessmen or straight Homo sapiens in general. Read the statement closely. It’s written in a plain sight.
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.
Listen to him. Tim spoke to people like me. He spoke to those who are afraid to be themselves. He spoke to the in-the-closets who are living in terror that someday someone might find out who they really are and then life as they know it ends in that instant.
Tim Cook spoke to people who haven’t been able to accept that they are gay.
The Verge’s Casey Newton couldn’t say it better.
There was a time when I struggled to come to terms with myself; when I felt alone; when I scanned the horizon looking for someone to point the way forward for me. There was a time when the only other gay men I knew were the ones I saw in TV and movies, and they seemed nothing like me. It feels embarrassing to say now that what I wanted back then was a role model — someone confident in himself, powerful, a real leader — to give me permission to be myself.
This is what I used to feel back in the days when I was still hiding in the cold, claustrophobic closet. And I believe that many people out there can relate to and benefit from this.
I could only imagine how hard it was for Tim. On one hand, he wanted to maintain his privacy, while on the other, he felt the urge to do “something more important,” that is to reach out to people who are in their hard time accepting who they really are.
Tim also admitted that he was not an activist of any kind but he realized that the sacrifice of others had benefited him in some ways. So, this is him trying to pass on that privilege to others, so that they can acknowledge the fact that sexual orientation is not something that will hold them back from opening up their potential and, thus, preventing them to live life to the fullest.
What I know is Tim has put his power to a good cause. Ever since he took over the CEO position, Apple is more charitable, more concerned with the environment and equality and they are vocal about it. Following is Apple’s recent campaign videos covering environmental issue and this year San Francisco Gay Pride Parade where 5,000 Apple employees/families marched the street celebrating equality and diversity. The former was narrated by Tim himself and he appeared as a cameo in the latter.
In an ideal world, what Tim did would be “meh,” but it’s not. We are living in a world where discrimination still exists and there are actual people ridiculed, harassed and abused for who they love. I think people who say that they just don’t care miss the whole point.
But then again, you don’t have to care about Tim Cook’s coming out statement if you don’t want to or if it makes you uncomfortable. In fact, you don’t have to care about anything at all. And if you want to move on, you might as well do it. Because you’re probably not the people whom Tim spoke to. But I am and you bet your ass I care.