Apple CEO Tim Cook on Saturday said
that he came out because “people need to hear that being gay is not
Cook was presented with the Human
Rights Campaign's (HRC) Visibility Award at its 19th
annual National Dinner in Washington, D.C., which was headlined by
Vice President Joe Biden.
Biden: Americans have moved past homophobia.)
Cook, who took over the reigns at Apple
in 2011, quietly came out roughly a year ago in an essay published in
Bloomberg Businessweek, where he stated that he considers
being gay “among the greatest gifts” God had given him.
He told the audience that he did not
write the essay for attention, saying that he believes a person's
accomplishments speak for themselves.
“But sometimes you just have to be
loud,” Cook said. “Because people need to hear that being gay is
not a limitation. People need to hear that being gay doesn't
restrict your options in life. People need to hear that you can be
gay or transgender and be whatever else you want to in life – a CEO
or a senator, an Olympic athlete, an award-winning actor or actress,
an amazing husband, wife, father, mother. I thought that was a
message worth sharing.”
Cook also appeared to take a swipe at
Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis, who is fighting to prevent her
county office from issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian
couples. Without mentioning her directly, Cook said that Martin
Luther King, Jr.'s dream of people being judged by the content of
their character remains an aspiration because 31 states have no LGBT
protections, kids are being told “they'll never amount to
anything,” and some people “claim exemption from what's written
in the constitution that no state shall deny Americans the equal
protection of the laws.”
Cook said that being gay had given him
empathy for other marginalized groups who face discrimination.
“The way I look at this is simple.
Discrimination against anyone holds everyone back. Everyone. And as
all of us know, discrimination doesn't simply fade. It doesn't
recede of its own accord. It has to be pushed back, challenged,
overcome and then kept at bay. That requires determination. That
requires vigilance,” he added. “Together we will pave the sunlit
path to justice.”
Democratic candidate Hillary Rodham
Clinton addressed the group earlier in the day.
Clinton backs LGBT protections; warns GOP will try to undo marriage