Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple Inc. on Thursday publicly announced that he is “proud to be gay”. This declaration puts an openly gay man at the top of the most valuable and talked about company in the world.
The news that Tim Cook is a gay hasn’t surprised people who follow Apple and events surrounding the company closely; this is because since a long time, rumors have been doing the rounds indicating such a possibility. However, one thing this announcement of Cook has done is signaling a legal and social transformation taking place in the life of Americans.
Trevor Burgess, the chief executive officer of C1 Bank Florida, who himself is an openly gay man, said that if Apple can have an openly gay CEO, no other company should worry to hire someone openly gay. The world came to know that Burgess is a gay man in August, 2014.
The past ten years have seen the American legal and social framework accepting gays and lesbians more gleefully. In over 30 US states, Same-sex marriage has already been legalized; this has been possible primarily due to campaigns supported by top corporations such as Amazon.com, and big names belonging to the fields of politics, sports and entertainment.
In spite of these changes taking place in the past decade, executives’ personal lives and their views on different social issues can have a strong impact on businesses.
Dan Cathy, the chief executive officer of American fast food restaurant chain Chick-fil-A, supports traditional marriage and has donated to organizations and groups that oppose lesbian and gay marriage through his company’s charitable wing. While this stance of Cathy left some consumers furious, there were many who started to line up at Chick-fil-A stores to show support for him and his views.
Here, it must be noted that still there are many gay workers who regularly become victims of workplace stigma. According to the Jeff Krehely, the Vice President of Human Rights Campaign, Tim Cook’s declaration and the fact that the Apple CEO said that he is proud of being a Gay might help in establishing civil rights for gay men facing workplace stigma.
For those who don’t know: still America has very few openly gay executives. This is true in spite of the fact that in the past few years, companies have increased the rate of hiring people who belong to the LGBT community. That’s not all; among all US-based Fortune 500 companies, only Apple has an openly gay CEO.