Apple CEO Tim Cook on Friday was
honored with the GLSEN Champion Award at the group's Respect Awards
in Los Angeles.
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight
Education Network, works to create a safe space in schools for
children who are or may be perceived to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or
In accepting the award, Cook, who came
out gay five years ago in a Bloomberg essay, warned of “the
consequences of failing our kids,” which include “trans and
nonbinary young people kicked out of their homes and attacked on our
streets. Bullying and harassment in our schools. And a broader
society that still sends a message, when the going gets tough, it's
the least among us who get targeted first.”
He shared some of the messages he
received since coming out. One young person said that they were
inspired to come out to their family. “If [you] can tell the whole
world, I at least can tell my mom,” the person wrote.
Another message came from a closeted
man with a loving wife and three adult children who said that he
“cried” when he read Cook's coming out essay.
“I cried when reading your Bloomberg
essay. I cried because I am gay,” the man wrote. “I fought
acknowledging who I was because it was not the way things should be.”
“I've cried because there are people
who, unlike me 50 years ago, will see that being gay is not an
affliction to fight but a wonderful thing to acknowledge and
celebrate. It makes me happy to know that there are others who are
struggling who will give up the struggle and not travel the road that
I chose,” he said.
Cook dedicated his award to this man,
who is now 67.
Cook says he does not regret coming out gay.)