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Apple's coming out...

When Apple CEO Tim Cook came out as gay in October 2014 in Bloomberg Businessweek (“I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me”), this caused quite a stir. Not because this fact was unknown (he had spoken out in favour of LGBT rights before) – Out magazine had previously named him as the most powerful gay person on its Power 50 list – but, as CNN reported: “It's a landmark moment for both the gay community and the business world. Tim Cook is now the first and only openly gay chief executive in the Fortune 500.”

His coming out sparked admiration from Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Clinton and Microsoft’s CEO among many others. Yet, he was not the only CEO who was openly gay. CNN went on to list companies like Burberry, Gawker, NBC, John Hardy and Nike who had openly gay executives. The importance of Apple’s CEO was the integrated part that Apple plays in today’s world – you cannot imagine a society without it. Apple is one of the most profitable companies in the Fortune 500 and ranks No. 1 on the Fortune’s annual ranking of the most admired companies.


While at that time there were still 29 states in the USA where Cook could be fired for being gay, the reverberations abroad were much stronger. In many countries, it is even illegal to be gay: will they arrest him when he next visits?  How about the conservative religious groups that are on an anti-gay crusade: will they boycott Apple now? In Russia, a Steve Jobs memorial was removed, as Cook’s revelation was called "a public call to sodomy."