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Tim Cook: Is there an obligation for successful Gay Americans to speak to the world about their sexuality?




Apple CEO Timothy Cook testifies before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee's Investigations Subcommittee about the company's offshore profit shifting and tax avoidance in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill May 21, 2013 in Washington, DC.
Apple CEO Timothy Cook testifies before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee's Investigations Subcommittee about the company's offshore profit shifting and tax avoidance in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill May 21, 2013 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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In an essay published this morning, Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly announced he's gay.  Cook's sexuality wasn't a secret - he wasn't in the closet. However, he hadn't publicly referenced it before today. Cook writes his desire for personal privacy was overridden by a sense of responsibility to other gay people. In a BusinessWeek essay he wrote, "While I've never denied my sexuality, I haven't publicly acknowledged it either, until now.  So let me be clear:  I'm proud to be gay and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me."

But Cook also is very clear that, in an ideal world, he'd prefer not to comment on his sexuality.  It's as he considered the potential benefit to someone struggling with self-acceptance or discrimination that he decided giving up his privacy was a worthy trade-off.  He referred to how much he'd benefitted from the sacrifice of others.

Is there a moral obligation for successful Gay Americans to speak to the world about their sexuality? Are we moving to a point at which successful gay men and women won’t feel the need to come out about their sexuality? How, if at all, do you think Cook’s announcement will affect Apple’s image and sales?

Guest:

Joshua Johnson, Morning Newscaster at KQED Radio, covers Silicon Valley