Apple CEO Tim Cook: I'm Proud to be Gay

Getty Images

It's not an iPhone announcement, but Apple CEO Tim Cook's message is just as powerful.

On Thursday, the 53-year-old executive came out publicly as a gay man in an essay published in Bloomberg Businessweek. He says he's just now talking about to the media about this because his "desire for personal privacy has been holding [him] back."

"While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven't publicly acknowledged it either, until now," Cook writes. "So let me be clear: I'm proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me."

VIDEO: Two and a Half Men Is Having a Gay Wedding!

Cook credits his sexuality as making him a "more empathetic" human being, adding, "It's been tough and uncomfortable at times, but it has given me the confidence to be myself, to follow my own path, and to rise above adversity and bigotry."

The CEO is also quick to note that at Apple, "it doesn't seem to make a difference" that he's gay, but he's aware that "not everyone is so lucky."

PHOTOS: Stars Who've Come Out As Bisexual

This is what led Cook to speak out. "I don't consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I've benefited from the sacrifice of others," he says. "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."

Former President Bill Clinton praised Cook on Twitter after coming across his essay. He tweeted: "From one son of the South and sports fanatic to another, my hat's off to you, @Tim_cook."

Raven Symone recently spoke with Oprah about her sexuality and ethnicity, and asked that she not be labeled as either. "I want to be labeled a human who loves humans," she said.

Check out more of Raven's interview below, and click HERE to view Cook's entire essay.