In 2014, Apple CEO’s sexuality won’t change a thing

Anthony Reyes, Staff Writer

It was a normal Thursday morning, I rolled out of bed, prepared myself for a day of classes and I was out the door. I get to my 10 a.m. class, sit down, pull out my iPhone and there is a notification waiting for me: “Apple CEO Tim Cook announces he is gay.”

I was instantly confused. Twitter exploded with opinions on the issue and it was “breaking news” on almost all of the major national news sites.

Cook confirmed he is gay in an editorial published Thursday. It was an essay by Cook himself in Bloomberg Businessweek; he pointed to Dr. Martin Luther King for the inspiration of putting aside his desire for privacy to do something “more important.”

“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.” Cook said in Bloomberg Businessweek.

Surely it took a lot of courage for Cook to make this announcement and I applaud him for it as well, but why does this need to be as big of a story as it has become? Same-sex marriage is now legal in 32 states and America seems as accepting of the LGBT community as it has ever been. We have seen the NFL draft its first openly gay player and even the Pope has praised committed gay relationships.

Cook is the CEO of Apple, which is obviously one of the most popular tech companies, and he is also the first openly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company, according to gay rights group Human Rights Campaign, so of course this is a newsworthy topic.

But as a CEO, the only way Cook’s sexual affiliation has any effect on his job is that he allows more diversity in the workplace. It doesn’t really influence what software goes into the products they make, it doesn’t influence how many products they’ll release or the price of the products they sell. It has little to no effect on the business aspect of Apple at all.

Yet in a BBC article titled “Why is Tim Cook of Apple the only major gay US CEO?” it mentions the possibility of Cook coming out as gay damaging their business prospects. It states that according to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association there are 78 countries who have criminal laws against sexual activity by the groups it represents. Those laws could ultimately factor in the decision of what phone people in those countries are going to buy.

To me that possibility is unbelievable.

I myself am not gay, but I know many people who are gay and I’m friends with many as well. I’m as accepting of them as I am of any of my straight friends. I also know that whether you’re gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, you’re still a human being.

You cannot control your sexual affiliation, you don’t choose what you want to be. You’re born that way. And whether you’re straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, we’re all born the same way.

We all have the same feelings. We all have the same brains. We all bleed the same color, and we can all break the same bones. The only difference in us is the preference of the person we want to be in a relationship with.

So, yes the fact that Tim Cook has come out as being gay is newsworthy because he’s the CEO of a major company and the first CEO to come out as being gay, but I think it’s newsworthy for all the wrong reasons.

I’m sure there was some analysis done of how much Apple’s stock either increased or decreased that day and the days that followed the decision. We’ve seen that people are already speculating that it will hurt sales in the future. But this goes beyond business and shouldn’t effect that at all.

This is about Cook being able to be who he wants to be in the public eye and hopefully helping people through their struggle in the process. My hope is that this is progress towards a world that when a person announces he/she is gay, they aren’t treated like an alien species different from the rest of the world.