This morning, Apple CEO Tim Cook opened up about his sexuality in a poignant essay for Bloomberg Businessweek. The 53-year-old officially came out as gay, making him the highest-profile business CEO to do so.

Cook began his piece by noting he has been open about his identity within social spheres, but in the past tried to keep it from his public life to focus on his role as a businessman and leader. Realizing he could make a difference by speaking out, he decided today to put it in writing.

"I believe deeply in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, who said: ‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?’” Cook writes. "I often challenge myself with that question, and I’ve come to realize that my desire for personal privacy has been holding me back from doing something more important. That’s what has led me to today… While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now. So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me."

Later, Cook describes the role his identity has played in working his way to the top.

"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," he says. "It’s made me more empathetic, which has led to a richer life. 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. It’s also given me the skin of a rhinoceros, which comes in handy when you’re the CEO of Apple."

Cook continues, "I don’t consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I’ve benefited from the sacrifice of others. 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… When I arrive in my office each morning, I’m greeted by framed photos of Dr. King and Robert F. Kennedy. I don’t pretend that writing this puts me in their league. All it does is allow me to look at those pictures and know that I’m doing my part, however small, to help others. We pave the sunlit path toward justice together, brick by brick. This is my brick."

To read the full text of his beautiful writing, click here

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