Apple CEO Tim Cook on Saturday said that he came out because “people need to hear that being gay is not a limitation.”

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.

(Related: Joe 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.

(Related: Hillary Clinton backs LGBT protections; warns GOP will try to undo marriage equality.)