Apple CEO Tim Cook came out today.
Mum on his sexual orientation until he shared his truth in an essay for Bloomberg Businessweek, Cook said he considered it a good trade, his privacy for the chance to bring comfort or to inspire someone “to insist upon their equality.”
Despite the prevailing non-diversity friendly sentiment that seems to hang over Silicon Valley — and the tech industry in general — like a bad smell, he said Appleloves creativity and innovation and knows it can only flourish when organizations embrace people’s differences.
That generosity of spirit is what keeps diversity and inclusion alive. I know why Cook, why any minority — particularly a top executive in a high profile company — would withhold facets of themselves and hold personal information close to the chest. Why not avoid having indelible facts about yourself trotted out for public delectation and scrutiny? Why not avoid having strange, offensive and likely unnecessary associations made or assumptions drawn about your credibility, performance or right and wrong based on factors that may be outside your control? Why not avoid having an intrusive open sign pasted on your back as the new face of whatever movement may be trending in media news cycles that day?
It shouldn’t be necessary for someone to have to make that kind of choice, a choice between helping people and sacrificing their privacy, but I’m glad Cook did, and I hope his sacrifice does some good.
This piece was originally published in Diversity Executive magazine online.