Apple CEO Tim Cook Talks Diversity and Coming Out in New People Interview
Back in 2014, Cook wrote a letter for Bloomberg Businessweek where he came out as gay in an effort to bring comfort to anyone who feels alone" and "inspire people to insist on their equality."
Cook says that he does not regret his decision to come out. "I have not regretted it for one minute," he said. "Not at all." Cook went on to explain that he had been receiving notes from kids struggling with their sexual orientation, and he wanted to do something. It took him a year between getting the words right and picking the right time for the announcement.
Obviously I couldn't talk to each one individually that reached out, but you always know if you have people reaching out to you that there's many more that don't, that are just out there wondering whether they have a future or not, wondering whether life gets better... From there I really decided. There's been a lot of people that came before me that made it possible for me to sit here today, and I needed to do something to help those people that were in a younger generation.
Cook said that he didn't experience any fear ahead of the announcement, but he was concerned about the world outside of Apple even with unanimous support from Apple's board. "I mean you look at it... there's still half the states or so where you can be fired for being gay or trans," said Cook.
Apple has a "history of being open and diverse" which made him feel comfortable making the announcement. According to Cook, being gay has given him a "level of empathy" that's "much higher than average."
I'm not saying that I understand the trials and tribulations of every minority group, because I don't. But I do understand for one of the groups. And to the degree that it helps give you a lens on how other people may feel, I think that's a gift in and of itself.
Cook also spoke about diversity and Apple's recent decision to file an amicus brief in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration policy. "We know that we create better products by being more diverse," said Cook. "We know the best products are created by the most diverse teams because products are created for everyone."
When I talk to folks that are in the United States in the DACA program, what I see is a level of grit, a level of determination, a level of excitement to be in America to achieve something and to go beyond perhaps where their parents did. I see enormous dedication and [a] very diligent work ethic, which I've always deeply admired. It was the way I was brought up as well. That's what I see, and I think it's a travesty that we're allowing, as a society, this cloud to hang over their heads for any period of time, but even more so for the period of time we have.
Cook's full interview, which has additional details on Apple's environmental efforts and Cook's advice for children who are gay and their parents, can be read over on the People en Español website.
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