• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

Apple CEO ‘Proud’ He’s Gay

tim-cook-gay

Apple CEO Tim Cook has officially revealed an open secret declaring, ”I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.”

That we’ve reached the point where such an important public figure can be open about his sexuality and be greeted mostly with shrugs is a good thing. But I wonder if it isn’t time to retire the “pride” aspect of this. I’m straight, having been attracted exclusively to the female of the species since early childhood. I’m not any more proud of that fact than I am of having blue eyes or being reasonably tall; after all, I had nothing to do with any of those things.

I’m aware of the roots of the gay pride movement, which, as described by Wikipedia is “the positive stance against discrimination and violence toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people to promote their self-affirmation, dignity, equality rights, increase their visibility as a social group, build community, and celebrate sexual diversity and gender variance. Pride, as opposed to shame and social stigma, is the predominant outlook that bolsters most LGBT rights movements throughout the world.” Quite obviously, there’s no reason for Cook to be ashamed or bashful about his sexuality, which is no more his choice than my straightness  is mine. He should be able to live his life as openly as the rest of us. For that matter, presuming he’s in a relationship, he may well be proud of his partner in the same way most straight people are proud of theirs.

Tim Cook is a highly accomplished man, having excelled in the highly competitive world of consumer electronics for going on three decades. He’s risen to lead arguably the most important tech company on the planet. But proud of his sexual orientation? That makes no sense.

Related Posts:

  • None Found

About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. You’re correct that it’s no secret that Tim Cook is gay. It was rather openly discussed when he was named to succeed Jobs. And one can hardly think that being gay is much of a stigma in the tech community in general, or the tech community in California in particular.

    At this point, I suppose that when people make these announcements, though, that the point isn’t so much about themselves personally but about sending a message to people who may be in positions or communities where living openly is not an option or would lead to stigma, and conflict with friends and family. Those kinds of places don’t really exist here on the East Coast, or on the West Coast where Cook lives, but there are still parts of the country where, I imagine, it’s a different story. I’m not a mind reader but perhaps its the people in those situations that people like Cook and others like him who go public in this day and age are speaking to.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. beth says:

    Quite obviously, there’s no reason for Cook to be ashamed or bashful about his sexuality, which is no more his choice than my straightness is mine.

    Except of course for the people who think he should be prohibited by law from marrying the person he loves, or being fired from his job just because he’s gay or any number of other obstacles to normal life that gay people face. You might be just a bit premature with your “obvious” conclusions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. C. Clavin says:

    It makes no sense to you…but you’ve never been ostracized for your sexuality.
    You say you’ve always been attracted to girls….but if you had been attracted to other boys in your childhood then you would have been beat up by other boys.
    As for Tim Cook coming out now…meh.

    I’m just looking forward to all the Republicans ditching their iMacs and iPhones and iPads in a fit of homophobic disgust. oooooh…gay cooties!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. MarkedMan says:

    James, I get what you are saying and it makes sense and I thought the same thing when I first read this. But saying you are proud to be something that was just a chance of birth is hardly limited to sexual orientation. Just read the t-shirts on St. Paddy’s day or the Puerto Rican festival in NY or 100 hundred smaller ethnic celebrations. It’s something we do and say, and probably not worth overthinking.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Mark says:

    James, aren’t you a part of the same political coalition that wants to deny marriage rights and basic normalcy to gay people (regardless of your personal beliefs here)? Adam and Steve and all that? The same coalition which was fine with papering over AIDS for several years in the 80s because it was a “gay plague?” The coalition against gays being able to serve in the military, and ready to consign them to hellfire?

    Maybe to him pride just means he won’t be allow himself to be shamed by supremacist conservatives (not you, but most of your allies) who have been publicly and persistently vile to gays and lesbians throughout his lifetime. I don’t get the word choice either but this complaint is even stupider.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. charles austin says:

    Some of us can think in terms other than false dichotomies, even if the typical progressive’s projection and generalization problems seem to prevent them from doing so.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. James Joyner says:

    @MarkedMan: That’s a fair point. But I also translate “I”m Irish and I’m proud” to mean “I’m proud of my heritage” rather than “I’m proud of a sheer accident of birth.”

    @charles austin: I’m not sure what you mean here. Do you think Cook should be proud of his gayness? Not proud? Hide it? What?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. wr says:

    @charles austin: “Some of us can think in terms other than false dichotomies, even if the typical progressive’s projection and generalization problems seem to prevent them from doing so.”

    I’m so glad you can think in other terms than false dichotomies like “progressives think in fals dichotomies while conservatives don’t.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. Neil Hudelson says:

    NSFW, but very related: Norm MacDonald on Gay Pride. (Don’t worry–he doesn’t bash homosexuality, but like James questions the idea of “pride.”)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. beth says:

    @James Joyner: So did you plan to be born Irish or was it just an accident of birth? Not sure I see your point.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. anjin-san says:

    But I wonder if it isn’t time to retire the “pride” aspect of this.

    I’m sure you do. But then you don’t have millions of people trying to deny you equal protection under the law & despising you in spite of the fact they don’t know you at all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. C. Clavin says:

    “I’m proud of my heritage”

    Um…so…you’re proud of the sheer accident of your ancestors birth???

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. C. Clavin says:

    @anjin-san:
    And he…by and large…supports a political party made up of a great deal of those people.
    Coincidence?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. C. Clavin says:

    Florack and Super-Dooper cannot understand people being proud of their African ancestors either. Irish, yes. African, no.
    Just sayin’

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. anjin-san says:

    @ James Joyner

    He should be able to live his life as openly as the rest of us.

    I’m having a hard time getting past this. If you feel that way, why are you a Republican?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. Gavrilo says:

    I am incredibly disturbed by this announcement. Did the CEO of one of the most important tech companies in the world just announce that he believes in the superstitious myth that there is an all-powerful being that bestows gifts upon him? What’s next? Is he going to announce that he’s a christianist?

    Why does he hate science???

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. C. Clavin says:

    @Gavrilo:
    He just admitted he was gay.
    You want him to admit he’s an intelligent, free-thinking person too? At the very same time?
    That would be too much for you to bear.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  18. stonetools says:

    Tim Cook was born in Alabama and grew up and went to school in the South. I’m sure he is saying this for all the gays in the South who are being persecuted and denied rights every day-something he knows about personally. Good on him for showing solidarity with his less fortunate fellow gays still trapped in Red America.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. stonetools says:

    @anjin-san:

    I’m having a hard time getting past this. If you feel that way, why are you a Republican?

    Doug and James are walking examples of Orwellian doublethink-people who sincerely believe in gay rights but vote for people and parties who run on denying rights to gay people.Hey, its a puzzlement to me, but then there are millions of Kentuckians who recieved heath insurance courtesy of Obamacare who plan to vote for a man who wants to repeal Obamacare, so…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. michael reynolds says:

    My problem with Tim Cook is not his orientation, it’s his iPhone 6. It’s ugly and too damned big to be used with one hand.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. @stonetools:

    I won’t speak for James, but you have no idea who I vote for, or even if I have voted in a given election unless I disclose it publicly. Assume what you will, but Felix Unger’s words on assumptions apply here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. stonetools says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Well, you did disclose you voted for Governor Bob Mcdonnell, who was anti-gay rights … but I’ll just let it go at this point. The record is out there. I’ll let others draw their conclusions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  23. Will Truman says:

    Ultimately, I think it’s up to actual gay people to decide whether things are such that they don’t need to express pride in their homosexuality. If Tim Cook doesn’t think we are, then he’s in a better position to judge than I am.

    As far as “being proud of something you had no control over”… I’d frame it like this:

    We are, among other things, the product of the sum of our experiences. That means that different aspects of us had a role in shaping who we became. Some have positive roles, some have negative roles. Cook saying that he’s proud of being gay is similar, to me, to saying “I am who I am, and I’ve achieved what I achieved, in part because I am gay and not in spite of it.”

    Even if we have reached a point where being gay doesn’t matter (I don’t believe we have), Tim Cook was raised in Alabama in an age where that very much wasn’t the case. So the experience of being gay in a time and place where that evoked particular reactions, his gayness is integral to his personality in a way that my straightness isn’t.

    He could try to explain all of this (if this is indeed the sort of thing that he meant), or he could just say that he’s proud to be gay and that being gay was, for him, a gift.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  24. Franklin says:

    But I wonder if it isn’t time to retire the “pride” aspect of this.

    I agree there might possibly be such a time in the future. But that’s when 99% of people accept homosexuality as being as normal as left-handedness.

    But you understand the basis of it, so I think we just disagree on when ‘pride’ will balance out ‘shame’.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    While the youtube video is at fault here, to clarify: Felix UngAr is from the Odd Couple. Felix UngEr performed the world’s first artificial heart transplant.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  26. anjin-san says:

    Perhaps Cook’s remarks are a source of comfort for a 15 year old gay kid who got the crap beat out of him after school yesterday simply because he is gay. That alone would make it worth doing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. charles austin says:

    @James Joyner: Referring to the comments posted before mine, not you. Sorry for the inconvenience or confusion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  28. charles austin says:

    @wr: Hey, that’s almost what I said, but not quite. Keep trying.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  29. Gustopher says:

    @michael reynolds:

    My problem with Tim Cook is not his orientation, it’s his iPhone 6. It’s ugly and too damned big to be used with one hand.

    He is breaking down stereotypes by demonstrating that not all gay men have excellent fashion sense.

    Even the iPhone 5, lovely as it is, is pretty ugly compared to the iPhone 4. And don’t get me started on the 4c.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  30. But I wonder if it isn’t time to retire the “pride” aspect of this.

    It’s hard to say, since I’ve never dated Tim Cook. Maybe he’s REALLY GOOD at being gay. 😉

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  31. Robert in SF says:

    As a gay guy from the South (was Robert in NC, before Robert in SF), I have responded to like-minded questions before about why we say “proud to be gay” or similar….when it is analogous to saying “proud to be 5’11”,”, for “proud to have green eyes.”

    My own thoughts (I don’t have my copy of The Gay Agenda or Official Handbook and Recruitment Guide handy) are that there’s really no other opposite of “shame” that’s a positive tone.

    Sure we could vote at the next Gay meeting to rally around “we are not ashamed of being gay,” or “we are unashamed of being gay,” or “we are not embarrassed to be gay”, etc., but those don’t really roll off the tongue, and that wording doe emphasize the shame nature we are actually denying is there.

    We could also vote to say, “we are proud of being out,” or “we are proud of being unrepentant of admitting our homosexuality”, but again….that’s not natural speech…and we get called unnatural often enough we don’t want to remind anyone to think of us that way.

    So we stick with the “gay and proud”, etc.. It’s a nice compromise.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  32. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @anjin-san: for the tax cuts?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. James Pearce says:

    But I wonder if it isn’t time to retire the “pride” aspect of this.

    Not yet. The “pride” thing isn’t necessarily about being proud so much as it as about not being ashamed. Shame creates double lives, suicides, miserable “straight” marriages, and turns public restrooms into hook-up places. “Pride” leads to integrity, happy lives, and healthy coupling.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  34. Tyrell says:

    Everyone has something to be proud of.
    “Proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free” (Greenwood)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  35. george says:

    @anjin-san:

    I’m having a hard time getting past this. If you feel that way, why are you a Republican?

    I know a lot of Republicans (and Conservatives in Canada) who dislike the social conservative element of their party, but who remain members of it. Most of them will say they’re trying (or at least hoping) that the Republican party will get back on track. The bat sh*t crazy element of it has only been dominant for a couple of decades, which isn’t very long in the life of a political party.

    Given that they don’t like the fiscal position of the Democrats (or Liberals in Canada), their alternative would be to try to create a third party, but its generally easier to turn around an existing party in the US than to create a successful new one (which is why the social conservatives diverted the Republican party instead of making their own new party).

    Myself I’d like to see the Republican party return to being mainly fiscally conservative (such as in Eisenhower’s time, when it was no more socially conservative than the Democrats of the time were).

    In terms of Tim Cook, he’s making a social statement rather than a private one, and its understandable given the number of people who still think being gay is something to be ashamed of.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  36. bill says:

    @C. Clavin: but he said “God has given me…” – doesn’t that make him a crazy religious guy? or does he get a waiver for being gay? bear in mind that blacks are also the most religious voting block……. slippery slope there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  37. steve q says:

    “LGBT pride does not mean being proud of having been born lesbian, gay, bisexual, or trans.

    It means being proud of having survived.

    LGBT pride flagIt means being proud of living in a homophobic, biphobic, transphobic society — a society that commonly treats us with contempt at best and violent hatred at worst — and still getting on with our lives. It means being proud of flourishing, in a society that commonly thinks we’re broken. It means being proud of being happy, in a society that commonly thinks we should be miserable. It means being proud of being good and compassionate, in a society that commonly thinks we’re wicked. It means being proud of fighting for our rights and the rights of others like us, in a society that commonly thinks we should lie down and let ourselves get walked on — or that thinks we should be grateful for crumbs and not ask for more. It means being proud of retaining our dignity, in a society that commonly treats us as laughing-stocks. It means being proud of loving our sexuality and our bodies, in a society that commonly thinks our sexuality and our bodies are disgusting. It means being proud of staying alive, in a society that commonly beats us down and wants us dead.” -Greta Christina

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  38. al-Ameda says:

    @James Joyner:

    Tim Cook is a highly accomplished man, having excelled in the highly competitive world of consumer electronics for going on three decades. He’s risen to lead arguably the most important tech company on the planet. But proud of his sexual orientation? That makes no sense.

    Actually to me, it made perfect sense.

    When, even today, Gay people often struggle to be recognized as just ‘people’ with all the aspirations and hopes that non-Gay people have, I understood Cook’s remarks to be in the vein of “yes I’m Gay, and I’m proud, and I hope that other Gays know that they need defined and dismissed by people who do not approve of homosexuality …” I understand the pride component of this completely.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  39. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @al-Ameda: I realize it’s late in the sequence, but in Saturday’s Korea Times and article about Cook coming out noted that Koreans hope that the news will not negatively affect the sales of Ipads and Iphones here.

    I realize that this is only Korea and so doesn’t actually count, but…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0