Tim Cook is gay. Everyone thinks his coming out is so revolutionary and so game-changing. I just think it points out how far we still need to travel.
Tim Cook had to make sure the Apple board of directors was ok with his coming out, because it might affect stock price or product sales, and ultimately his job.
He had to ask permission to come out.
I guess that is better than a subsistence wage earner who has to worry about whether the boss or foreman is anti-gay, or frankly any person who is 2 pay checks away from being homeless.
But asking permission is not the same as being free.
It actually makes me sad for him, for me, for all of us. And yet I believe that scared and closeted gays and lesbians all over are silently cheering. My hope is that Tim Cook’s coming out will free them to be who they are, love who they love and be happy.
And, sadly, I am more free than Tim Cook. While I work in an industry where gays are not equal, I don’t worry so much about workplace harassment or losing my job. Maybe that is because I live in a state that protects me.
Imagine a world where you, as a straight person, would have to pretend to love a person of the same sex. You would have to be affectionate in public, go to company functions and try to live a life that conformed to society’s standards. And sometimes, you would seek out the love and companionship of a kind and wonderful person of the other sex. Because you are lonely, and tired, and need to be loved and feel love. And you want to be understood and forgiven for the charades and the lies.
Live in that desperation for a minute. That pain. That emptiness.
And, imagine you were found out. And lost your friends and your job and your family. Because you were being you. Authentically, you.
That is life in so many places in the US and in so many countries around the world.
And while the titan of global industry had it easier, he was still “private” about his life. Lies by omission. Vague references. Even though he didn’t have a “cover” family, he needed three years at the helm and a vote of the board of directors to come out.
I glad that Tim Cook came out of the closet.
But I guess that I will really celebrate when no one thing defines him, but all make up who he is. The CEO of Apple. Out-Sourcer-in-Chief of jobs and Avoider-in-Chief of US taxes. A gay man. White son of the South.
He is all of these things. And that is what is important.
The next frontier is looking beyond the “boxes” and looking at the whole human with all of his/her faults, attributes and gifts.
Then we will be free.