Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that he is gay in an op-ed published Thursday, noting that he considers being a homosexual "among the greatest gifts God has given" to him.
Cook, who penned his very personal column in Bloomberg Businessweek, opened the article by claiming that he has always maintained privacy in his professional life and has never looked for attention, keeping the focus, instead, on Apple's products and services.
But he said that he recently felt as though his penchant for privacy wasn't allowing him to help others by openly addressing the fact that he is gay — something he believes the op-ed could profoundly change.
"While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now," he wrote. "So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me."
Apple chief executive and Alabama native Tim Cook waves to the crowd during an Alabama Academy of Honor ceremony at the state Capitol Monday, Oct. 27, 2014, in Montgomery, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Cook went on to open up about the specific benefits he believes homosexuality has brought to his life.
"Being gay has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be in the minority and provided a window into the challenges that people in other minority groups deal with every day," Cook continued." It’s made me more empathetic, which has led to a richer life."
He admitted, though, that it has been "tough and uncomfortable at times," but that he has been able to follow his own path, to develop tough skin and to "rise above adversity."
Cook went on to note that he believes the world has changed and that the U.S. is on a path to accepting gay marriage, though he decried the fact that there are "laws on the books" that allow for employers to terminate people based on sexual orientation or to evict tenants on the same basis.
"I don’t consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I’ve benefited from the sacrifice of others," he wrote. "So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy."
Read Cook's op-ed in its entirety here.