CNBC outs Apple CEO Tim Cook, who then appears at SF Pride

CNBC outed Apple CEO Tim Cook as a gay man the other day.

The revelation by CNBC’s Simon Hobbs was met with stony silence on the set of CNBC’s show “Squawk on the Street.”

It’s long been suggested that Cook is gay, but he’s never acknowledged it. NYT columnist James Stewart, who was on the panel, and was one of those who grew uncomfortable silent after the outing, noted that there’s only one Fortune 500 CEO who is openly gay: the former CEO of BP, John Browne, who came out after he left BP.

Stewart at the NYT says he contacted “a lot” of gay CEOs, and none of them at any major company wanted their name to be used in his story.

Interestingly, Apple’s Cook marched yesterday in the San Francisco Pride Parade with the ApplePride contingent. But he did not attend Pride as an openly-gay man, simply as Apple’s CEO supporting our cause.

Cook is facing what we’ll call “the Queen Latifah” problem. It creates a rather interesting conundrum when a famous person who everyone “knows” to be gay refuses to come out. Queen Latifah got some flak for officiating at a mass gay wedding at the Grammys earlier this. Latifah is widely “known” to be gay, but has never come out. And while some argue, even some gay people argue, that it’s no one’s business telling gay people how out they need to be, as I explained in an earlier story about the Queen Latifah controversy:

One big problem with Latifah’s position is that she’s sending a message that there is a problem. She’s signaling that there’s something wrong with being gay.

People can defend Latifah’s choice, claiming that she has a right to privacy. And Latifah can talk all she wants about her desire to protect her “private life.” But straight Americans – and particularly celebrities – don’t invoke the right to privacy when you simply inquire about the well-being of their spouse. And they don’t rail about their “private life” when you ask, “how goes the girlfriend?”

And in fact, celebrities are usually accompanied to events like the Grammys by their significant other in the first place, making clear that their heterosexual orientation isn’t a private matter at all.

The only time celebrities try to hide who they’re dating is when it’s someone else’s spouse, an underage child, an animal, a corpse, or a gay.

Message received.

People have the right to remain in the closet, perhaps (I’m not opposed to “outing” someone who is actively trying to harm the gay community, such as a member of Congress who votes against gay rights), but as I noted in my story about Latifah, when celebrities who are “known” to be gay, then hide the fact that they’re gay, it sends the message that “gay” is something embarrassing, negative, bad. And that is harm.

I’m pretty sure I’ve never outed Apple CEO Tim Cook on this site, though I’d heard about him years ago. Apple is a pro-gay company, and, to the best of my knowledge Cook has been nothing but pro-gay. But that doesn’t mean that his choice to remain silent isn’t reinforcing the closet. You can remain unconvinced that Cook should be outed, and still believe that his silence is unproductive.

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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • Mike_H

    Of course he’s playing a game; that’s the whole point that started this post in the first place. It’s not about “calling a press conference”; it’s about casually and gracefully acknowledging a truth that people close to him already know. It’s about not acting like there’s some great shame or some great secret in a horribly awkward way when being public as part of your job as the CEO of a company that is consistently in the limelight, and which you knew would be part of your job as CEO when you took the position.

    Apple has been a highly pro-gay company for years, and that hasn’t hurt it. I doubt that anyone who isn’t already boycotting Apple for previous pro-gay policies would “suddenly” find it “all too much” just because the CEO was gay.

    Apple is going to live or die, even in those regressive countries, on whether or not it produces products people want. As long as it does, people will buy it, even if the CEO is gay or Jewish or black or a woman.

    And again, Apple isn’t exactly getting positive press attention because of this. It looks weird, and that’s why it got play during the news cycle. It’s awkward, not professional, not smooth, not positive.

    And that doesn’t mean it had to be a big fanfare moment or a press conference. It just needed to be acknowledged and then the conversation move on smoothly. That’s all. It’s not much to ask for, while what actually happened does bring up the question about shame and embarrassment and regressive attitudes.

    There’s a middle ground here that Tim Cook would have been wiser to tread rather than the clumsy path he took.

  • Mike_H

    Your main point throughout this thread seems to be that forcing people out of the closet is bad, to which I’ve not once disagreed.

    While I don’t take as strong a position as dcinsider, there are absolutely some reasonable points that have been made about it not being a good or kind thing to “enable” the closet.

    The closet *only* exists because of homophobia, period. And any suggestion that there’s an equivalency of “free choice” about living in the closet, as if life in the closet were as free and casual a choice as what color shirt to wear — and not something forced on people out of fear and prejudice — is not a reasonable argument that rests on a solid foundation of logic OR compassion.

    That was the inherent part of your argument that I found objectionable and I felt it important to point out its flaws. I’ve done so, and I’m comfortable with ending the discussion as well.

  • Denver Catboy

    Since you steadfast refuse to see my point, I refuse to acknowledge any of yours. And since we’ll just keep going in circles, there’s really no point. We’re done here. Good day.

  • Mike_H

    I think you’ve made it fairly obvious that speed of response has little to do with quality, snarky comment about “4 days” notwithstanding (or have you missed the fact that we just went through a holiday weekend?)

    1) Uhm, no it’s not. This is commonsense, essentially definitional, about what life in the closet is. Have you ever, EVER, found anyone living in the closet where it wasn’t about other people’s reactions, or about fear, or self-loathing? Is it that important for you to “win” an argument that you have to argue points like this, where it’s essentially nonsensical for you to suggest otherwise?

    Are you *seriously* expecting anyone to believe that life in the closet ISN’T about paying more attention to what other people think rather than living life authentically?

    2) I explicitly said that it isn’t about forcing someone out of the closet. There’s more to this than just the “either/or” you seem intent to make this discussion — there’s a finer point that you’ve missed a few times now.

    3) Free will includes all sorts of things. I have consistently acknowledged it’s his choice. It’s just not an admirable choice for a lot of reasons you seem to want to gloss over, and you keep using justifications and rationalizations that aren’t even all that realistic given that it’s 2014 and he’s a rich white guy from one of the most liberal states in the union.

    I never *disagreed* that forced outings are bad. You read a lot into my words, based perhaps on your own history. What I’ve been objecting to is your consistent perception that “it’s just as good and valid a choice” when it isn’t.

    It’s not healthy for the person in the closet, and when it’s a public figure it also has the added problem of the shame factor which isn’t a good message for the community or the rest of the world to hear.

    Now, if you want to argue about public figures and privacy, that’s a separate issue — but also one that is hard to argue much, because part of being a famous person is attracting attention that non-famous people don’t get. It is part of the package. Including being the CEO of a trend-setting company like Apple. People pay attention to the CEO of Apple. It comes with the job. If that attention is anathema to you, you decline the job.

    I’ve not once “insisted” that people live a certain way, I’ve simply made quite reasonable, and factual, observations about the ways in which certain people live, in order to counter your far-too-rosy view of the faux-choice of living in the closet. You’re working too hard to “enable” behavior that isn’t really being supportive *in the least*, and trying to convince yourself at the same time that you’re arguing the “good side” here.

    So, again, it IS their choice. It’s not a particularly good or healthy choice, and everyone SHOULD be encouraged to live their life open, honestly, authentically — for their own good and for the betterment of our society. To suggest otherwise is to enable people in unhealthy behavior, much like enabling an alcoholic to keep drinking — sure, it’s *their* choice, but it’s not a particularly healthy choice.

  • Denver Catboy

    Took you 4 days to come up with this?

    1) It’s your burden of proof to establish what is going on in Cook’s head.

    2) Even if you could establish once and for all that Cook is living his life in fear, now you have to establish what right you have to force him to out himself when he chooses not to.

    3) Free will includes the choice to do things a certain way because you fear the consequences of doing something different.

    At least you agree with me that forced outings are bad. That was the heart and soul of my argument. Who are you (and everyone else) to argue that you support the outing of a guy who doesn’t live his life the way you live yours? You support those who claim that forced outing is right (dcinsider: “He should be out because the message he sends is that he is ashamed of himself and being gay.”). I observed the simple fact that straights are not required to out themselves, and then you go on a holy crusade to say that doesn’t matter because *insert reasons here*. I’m still stuck on the whole ‘force gays to out themselves’ thing. I just can’t grasp how you can insist on one hand that gays should have the right to live their lives the way they want (marry who they want), then insist that they have to live a certain way (by outing themselves, just because they are ‘ashamed of themselves and being gay’.) All the rest of this stuff you’ve picked to quibble? It is nothing next to that simple fact.

  • Mike_H

    A gay who is living a lie, pretending to be something they aren’t, or working hard to avoid pronouns so as to be honest but still essentially deceptive, just because they are afraid of homophobes, isn’t “living their lives exactly the way they wish to”. They are living a life they feel they *have to*. That they feel forced to.

    Huge. Difference.

    Life in the closet is a choice, yes. But a choice based on fear. A choice based on the expectations and feelings and prejudices of *other people*. It’s *never* a choice based **solely and entirely on their own free will**. That’s the part that, to me anyway, you aren’t really acknowledging. Why it’s not equivalent and why it’s important not to glorify the closet or in any way make it easier on anyone inside it, to suggest that it’s “just as acceptable a choice” as living life honestly and authentically. Because it’s not, inherently, at it’s core.

    But that’s also *not* the same thing as supporting forced outings, either.

  • Ninong

    First, I wasn’t talking about 1950’s California. I was talking a certain states in the Deep South where coming out, or being found out, would usually result in immediate termination. In fact, in many states, that’s still a possibility today because it’s still perfectly legal to terminate someone for being gay. It still happens but in the 1950’s it was almost certain to happen. Maybe that’s why so many people moved to San Francisco?
    Don’t forget that Apple does business in every part of the world. A public statement from its CEO that he is gay would absolutely receive a negative reaction in the many countries where that is a criminal violation of the law. He has no responsibility to reform the views of the citizens in those countries but he does have a responsibility to his board of directors to act responsibly in the performance of his duties. He has a duty to always consider what is best for his company and its shareholders.
    A public statement by Tim Cook that he is gay would be an unnecessary distraction to Apple’s plans to grow its business in every corner of the globe.

  • Denver Catboy

    Dude, you are so full of BS your eyes are brown. Can’t deal with my point, so you allege I’m a homophobe instead. If THAT isn’t trolling, I don’t know what is. Flagged.

  • Denver Catboy

    I step back, and I see I’ve been maneuvered away from the topic I was originally talking about, to talk about something else, so we can go in circles around that, without addressing the fundamental argument.

    Do you believe that a gay should be able to live their lives exactly the way they wish to? I presume you support the rights of gays to love who they please and marry who they please, because otherwise you wouldn’t be on this site or you’d be one of the jerks trying to scream us down. But if you do, you have to admit it doesn’t make sense to claim to let someone live as they please in one breath, then scream that they aren’t living their life the way you think they should in the next. Both you and dcinsider are doing exactly that, and it makes you hypocrites, not to mention no better than the anti-gay schmucks who occasionally drift into these parts to tell the gays ‘yer all goin to heck ’cause you don’t do as I believe!’

  • Mike_H

    Of course they DO talk about it, because they never have reason not to. I’ve been in the workforce for 30 years and I’ve never, not once, worked with a straight person that I didn’t know who they were dating or that they were married.

    And you are still making a false equivalency — being afraid to be honest about who you are in situations where straight people have no such fear doesn’t give us equality or make us equivalent. Hiding your long-term relationship because you are afraid people might find out you are gay isn’t at all the same thing as a straight person simply not saying something about their wife on a particular day because they didn’t think about it. No straight person has ever been afraid to mention their spouse because they were afraid their co-workers would find out they were straight.

    So, no, I’m sorry, you aren’t talking about the same thing at all here.

  • Mike_H

    But this says nothing about his responsibility to himself and to others — which I disagree you should dismiss so cavalierly.

    You’re still putting special rules and special pressure on gay people that straight people don’t have. No straight person keeps their “private life private”, at least when it comes to who their spouse is or even who they are dating.

    And I think it’s also pretty clear that there’s been more attention to this issue because of his dancing around the issue, so if the idea were to protect Apple, he’s hardly going about it the right way. His coyness about this issue is dragging it more into the spotlight than it would have if he’d just been casually out for years.

    And further… this *isn’t* the 1950s any more. Coming out, especially in a progressive state like California at a progressive company like Apple, is not *any* of those things you say one should be worried about any more. (And the argument falls apart further if you realize that those around him have been saying they already knew anyway — so none of the repercussions you list would have been pertinent to his case anyway).

    So… for Tim Cook to continue to play this game, in 2014, when his colleagues, family, and friends already know, when it certainly wouldn’t damage Apple, just doesn’t make any sense… personally or professionally.

  • Denver Catboy

    I’m going to call them as I see them, and you can disagree with me politely, take your own advice and ignore then, or do something that gets you called out by a moderator. Enjoy!

  • Denver Catboy

    Ooops. I’m not perfect. But at least I try to learn, rather than being set in my way.

    You? Nah, you’ve got a crusade to wage against people who disagree with you….and you’ll use every weapon at your disposal to ensure you’re on the winning side, no matter who you alienate on the way.

    I was right. You’re no better than the Right Wing.

  • Denver Catboy

    I’m glad you find humor in your bad behavior. /s Bye…

  • dcinsider

    Wrong again. I have made my position clear to anyone who can read plain English. I will not deliberately out someone for the sake of outing, but I will not participate in their lie. Thus, if someone is on the “down low” as you phrase it and expects me to facilitate that “down low” game, they can forget it. “Down low” is shame based. That is a fact. Me permitting someone to be on the “down low” by letting them continue that lie in my presence is a tacit approval of their game. I won’t play it.

    I am not sure why you can;t grasp this. I get that you think that gay people living in shame is an excellent, wonderful personal choice. I clearly disagree. It is a shame based choice. The fact that you would want to keep that person in a position of shame tells me a lot about what you really think about “sexual preference” as you put it. However, sexual orientation should not result in “down low” or anything like it. You prefer it that way because the truth is you are uncomfortable with openly gay people, and you understand why someone should be ashamed of themselves. But it is your deep-seated homophobia that drives your position on this issue, not the false credo of caring about anyone’s privacy.

    Consider yourself called out. RT.

  • dcinsider

    Sexual preferences? What an offensive term. What are a time traveler from 1975?

  • dcinsider

    My advice to you is to ignore my posts if you disagree with them, because your lectures are laughable.

  • Ninong

    Walmart is the pioneer when it comes to buying cheap stuff from China and other developing countries. Hobby Lobby and others just copied their game plan.

    Amazingly, China is no longer the cheapest labor market in the world. Places like Bangladesh and Thailand are cheaper. And, would you believe it, Mexico has cheaper labor than China!!! BMW is going to announce tomorrow that they will be building a huge new assembly plant in Mexico. They’re doing it because they will save on import taxes and because labor will cost them only $2.50/hour. That’s 20% cheaper than what they pay their workers at their plant in China. Labor costs at their plant in South Carolina average about $20.00/hour, which is at least a third cheaper than their plants in Germany.

    They will be able to supply all of North America and South America from their plant in Mexico far cheaper than any of the other locations they considered. They did consider building a new plant in the American Southwest but Mexico won out. Cheap labor and NAFTA were hard to beat.

    On the bright side, BMW is spending $1 billion over the next two years to increase the capacity of their plant in Spartanburg, SC by 50%, making it their largest plant in the world. They located to South Carolina because labor costs there were, and still are, cheaper than Germany.

  • Ninong

    It’s the “I did it, so you have to do it” mentality. Some gays feel better after “coming out,” while others have been out their entire lives and never felt the urge to discuss it with straight people.

  • Ninong

    Your view may be influenced by your age. I can understand why younger people, meaning anyone born after WWII, rather than before, might think that way. While I am much older than Tim Cook, I understand and fully agree with his decision to not discuss his personal life publicly. I have no doubt that Steve Jobs knew his orientation when he hired him. It made no difference to Jobs and it shouldn’t matter to anyone else either.

    Tim Cook has no responsibility to the “gay community,” but he does have a responsibility, as chief executive officer of Apple, to his board of directors and to his 80,000 employees worldwide to always act in their best interests. He bears a fiduciary responsibility to his company’s shareholders to do what is best for the company.

    Therefore, any decision to make a public pronouncement of his sexual orientation must be weighed in light of those professional and legal responsibilities. They are more important than any personal considerations. Maybe that’s why Lord Browne didn’t announce his sexual orientation until after he stepped down as Chairman of BP.

  • Denver Catboy

    Straights CAN talk about who they are dating casually…but they don’t have to, and here’s a shocker, they don’t always.

    Like I said. You can always sit in judgement of someone (though IMO, that is a big reason why we have as many problems as we do today…), but when you use that judgement to try to force that person to behave the way you think they should? Do you honestly think that makes you any better than the right-wingers who would use their judgement that gay is evil to force you to be ‘straight’?

  • Denver Catboy

    Sure, except that’s not what dcinsider was saying. He was saying he should feel no compulsion to help a gay ‘stay in the closet’. You can judge people as much as you want (though I’d say judging people is a quick way to make things uglier than they already are), but when your thoughts turn into actions, as I was reading from dcinsider’s posts, that’s where you step out of the nebulous realm of thoughtcrime into actual offense against someone.

  • Mike_H

    Straights out themselves all the time, though, so that is a false equivalency argument. Mentions of wife, girlfriend, “look at the hooters on that one”, straight people out themselves in dozens of ways every day.

    Straight people can and do talk about who they are dating casually and seriously without a second thought. Equality with the straights means we can and should do the same, that’s all.

  • Mike_H

    Of course its his choice, but it’s not particularly admirable, to live a lie where your straight colleagues live openly. How many straight CEOs keep their wives secret? None. So Tim Cook’s situation isn’t equivalent. “Being on the down-low” is already engaging in behavior straight people don’t engage in, hiding something as if it were something terrible. And it DOES aid the narrative that being gay is bad, shameful, should be shut away, hidden, etc. Which is a bad message for a public figure to be sending in this day and age.

    So, no, we can’t and shouldn’t “force” him out, but we certainly can disagree with his decision and also look down on it — just like when any other public figure makes a poor choice that shows bad judgement.

  • Mike_H

    Respectfully, I think the suggestion that anyone gay should be more worried about what homophobes in other countries think, instead of living honestly and openly, is more sick. And regressive. And does indeed continue to feed into the narrative that there’s something “wrong” with being gay. That’s the deeper issue here. This would have been less of an issue had Tim Cook just casually acknowledged it years ago. It’s actually gaining *more* attention because of the ridiculous dance he’s been doing, which is essentially dishonest. That doesn’t help him and doesn’t help Apple.

    Perhaps it’s not full-on cowardice, to live a lie; but it is dishonest, to play the game that Tim Cook is playing. Does he have a right to play it? Sure. But that doesn’t make it admirable, useful, or good that he does, either.

  • Denver Catboy

    1) You presume way too much here with the terms of endearments. You have no place calling me by any term of endearment — I don’t know you and you don’t know me, and you’re not my SO. The only one I would tolerate calling me any term of endearment would be my parents and my wife. Since you are none of the above, I find you very presumptuous in your use of the term.

    2) If you had taken offense to me saying you delivered a nasty comment (for reference, I’m referring to the ‘Thank god it’s only you’ comment), the proper way of doing it is saying “I’m not being nasty.” But I think we both know your passive-aggressive comment was inappropriate. That’s why you went to another level of passive-aggressive comment, both designed to get a raise out of me. Much like the last one, I meet this one with cold, hard logic, pointing out once again that your choices will harm your movement and harm your own personal relationships with other people.

    A parting shot: These United States are coming apart quickly. A big part of this is people insisting that they know better than everyone else. The biggest attraction I find in the Left is that people can live their lives the way they wish, which is a marked difference from the Right’s assertion that while Business can live its life the way it wants, we’re too mired in Sin to ever know how to run our own lives. However, there are voices on the Left who get uncomfortably close to the Right’s ‘we know what’s best for you’ BS. I see no more problem with calling those on the Left who pull this than I do calling those on the Right who pull it. DcInsider, consider yourself called out.

  • Denver Catboy

    Moderator3 has already corrected you on the whole Mary and panties in a bunch thing. So my turn to correct you on the rest.

    You can choose to respect the rights of other individuals who may have different views on what is appropriate for them, or you can be like the self-centered jerks on the Right who tell us who we can love, and how we can express that love in the bedroom. If you opt to do the latter, you are no better than the eyes-in-your-bedroom crowd we supposedly both dislike.

    Second: You are indeed not obligated to participate in or facilitate a ‘lie’. If you are so put out that Mr. Cook (or anyone else) doesn’t sing their sexual orientation to the high heavens, then find your way out of his or her life. Worry about your own self, not other people, and life will go a whole lot better for all involved.

  • Denver Catboy

    That’s just it. I didn’t see Mr. Cook trying to play at being straight. I see him keeping his sexual preferences on the down-low, and not trying to claim either way what he is. Where is he ‘lying about [his] sexual orientation, pretending to be straight’? Or do you file it under the very vague and open to interpretation ‘otherwise being dishonest’? We come back to the original question — what gives you the right to out someone who has not chosen to out themselves? Shouldn’t that be his choice and not yours?

  • dcinsider

    Will do.

  • Moderator3

    I suggest that you take this up with John.

  • dcinsider

    As in most judgement calls, your judgment can be incorrect. You are incorrect here, and as a long time reader and poster, you should be more familiar with my posts and know that I am not some visiting troll, or one given to frequent uncivil outbursts.

    I find the call insulting and unjustified given my history at this site. Frankly, you are out of line here. I expected better.

  • Moderator3

    I agree that Mary is often used as a term of endearment among gay men. Why would you use a term of endearment with a stranger? I called it uncivil, because I know how I would feel if a stranger said it to me. Actually the “panties in a bunch” was the most uncivil. Please remember your replying to a stranger. I thought the disagreement was escalating, and it was better to step in now. I would much rather jump in now and not see a battle royal begin. It’s a judgement call.

  • dcinsider

    Perhaps if I explain my position clearer. I am not about “outing” someone for the sake of outing. In other words, I’m not about to write to some guy’s boss and tell him that his employee is gay. What I am stating is that gay people should not, ever, participate in another gay person’s lie about their sexual orientation. No one should help keep another in the closet.

    So, if in a social situation, someone is lying about their sexual orientation, pretending to be straight, or otherwise being dishonest, gay people are under no obligation to participate in the lie, or to perpetuate it.

    Now some may choose to say nothing. That is somewhat content neutral, though a sin of omission of sorts. However, I would point out the lie. That’s just me. What I would not do is permit the person to lie to others in my presence.

  • dcinsider

    In my years here, I have seen much, much worse, without an admonition. And John has stated that Mary is a term of endearment among gay men, and it is. I would use that censorship tool a little bit more carefully here.

    I was responding to “Had to come and make a nasty comment on my post” language by the poster referring to me. I think I’m entitled to a little leeway in my own defense.

    I’m calling BS on this one.

  • Moderator3

    “Please Mary. Let’s not get our panties in a bunch.”

    I admit that I may say something like that to a friend. I would not say that to somebody I don’t know.

  • dcinsider

    Where was I uncivil?

  • Moderator3

    Please keep the discussion on a civil level.

  • dcinsider

    Please Mary. Let’s not get our panties in a bunch.

    You can participate in the lies that closeted people tell, and you can perpetuate their misery by pretending that what they are doing is simply part of the “process” but you are doing these people no favors.

    Just because someone chooses to lie about their life, does not mean that I am required to participate in or facilitate that lie.

  • dcinsider

    It is not cruel. It is simply refusing to participate in someone else’s lie.

  • Denver Catboy

    This. I couldn’t say it better.

    Straights don’t need to ‘out’ themselves.

    Gays want equality with straights.

    Why do gays insist other gays ‘out’ themselves.

    This is NOT equality with the straights!

  • Denver Catboy

    Seems that he’s all for making enemies of people who don’t believe exactly as he does. Had to come and make a nasty comment on my post arguing that a person should be free to live their lives without someone else coming in and making them do stuff they don’t want to do.

    Let me be clear here. Down this road lies madness. The people advocating for forcibly outing gays who have not outed themselves to these people’s desires run the very real risk of making plenty of enemies and damaging the cause for gays. All because the people advocating for this think that gays who don’t sing their gaydom to the world to the extent they want them to are ‘hypocrites’…

    I disdain the Right for shoving its agenda down the throats of everyone it disagrees with. What makes it any different when you shove your agenda (“Everyone, out of the closet!”) down the throats of those you disagree with?

  • Denver Catboy

    Well, that’s really nice and kind of you. Sure to make you lots of friends and influence lots of people. Flies LIKE vinegar and not honey. /s

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    What courage is involved with outing someone? All it takes is a big mouth and cruelty. If a friend is closeted, you talk and talk to them. If you out them, you’re creating an enemy, and someone who may never trust other gay people.

  • dcinsider

    Creepy looking guy.

  • dcinsider

    Thank god its just you.

  • dcinsider

    So be it. Change takes acts of courage. I did it, and suffered the consequences both professionally and personally. And I lived to tell about it. And I recovered my professional life as well. Don’t tell me that it can’t be done, and I won’t tell you that it is entirely without risk. But so is crossing the street.

    You get one life. Cowering in the closet, whatever justification you have adopted to permit it, is simply a form of suicide. You may still be breathing, but you are not alive.

    Why then would any responsible gay man or lesbian allow their friend to commit this suicide?

  • dcinsider

    Your points are well taken, however they are undermined in the end by the comments about whether public figures know they are out publicly. That is a conscious decision they make about being out; it is not merely a resulting factor from not being an activist.

    Coming out requires effort. Yes, you are correct that it occurs over and over throughout one’s life. However, it is necessary and required of every gay man and lesbian, public figure or not. There is simply no excuse for anyone to remain in the closet. None.

    Ninong gave the perfect response by intensely homophobic gay people, which is the banal query “straight people don’t have to come out.” The statement is stupid it barely is worthy f s response. But if Nanang is such a buffoon that he or she does not realize how stupid that sounds, let me explain.

    Heterosexuals do not have to come out. There exists a presumption of heterosexuality. That presumption, as presumptions do, presupposes that all people we meet are heterosexual. To overcome the presumption REQUIRES a statement of some sort to prove the presumption inaccurate. That statement may be a reference by a male that he and his husband “tried a new restaurant recently.” That is not waiving a rainbow flag, it is a simple, true statement about his life. Walla! He’s out.

    The straight person comes out because they talk about their BF or GF or husband or wife without thinking anything about it.

    For most gays and lesbians, there is a conscious effort to do the same, or a conscious effort not to. The decision not to is the closet.

  • tripleseon

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  • joshuabayerjazz

    Shouldn’t we leave that decision to Tim Cook?

  • The_Fixer

    Very good catch and point. I heard it, but it did not register quite the way it should have with me.

    That CEO world is one that is mostly a boy’s club, and a straight boy’s club at that. It’s also a conservative world that doesn’t like “scandal.” Oh, they think that you can do what you want – just don’t “caught” and as a result, get any publicity over it as that can affect “shareholder value.”

    I suspect that, along with the usual personal considerations, makes coming out for a CEO different. Of course, it could be pointed out that these guys (and I presume women, too) ultimately may have more money to lose, but they also can land on their feet – most are very well paid. Not so for a poor gay person in the rural south who comes out and is shunned, and loses his or her income. It’s a much harder landing for them.

    What’s really funny is that for all of their paranoia, the average person really doesn’t know who they are, and likely would hate them more for being a CEO than for being gay!

  • Mark_in_MN

    The language we have for coming out and being out is rather imprecise. It isn’t just a singular thing, but a rather complex set of matters. But since we use just a single phrase (or set of phrases) with a broad spectrum of meanings and covering multiple situations, it is really easy to collapse the whole thing into a singular action or status.

    Most of us will spend our whole lives coming out. Unless we are so flamingly obvious or are constantly making sure that everyone knows, coming out isn’t a one time event. Meeting new people, taking a new job, engaging in new activities or organizations, all result in our coming out again. Sometimes we might even find ourselves inadvertently “in.” We might, for various reasons, intentionally vary our level of outness in various places, circumstances, and situations. There is, actually, a great deal of normalcy about this, even apart from sexual orientation. People always make choices, conscious and otherwise, about how much privacy they maintain or what they share about themselves. That isn’t to say that there are not legitimate debate about where and, particularly, why someone might adopt different levels of openness and privacy regarding their sexual orientation.

    Further, a binary application of being out or not being out might not serve us, or anyone, well. As with a need to come out across one’s life, it’s rarely the case that one is simply either out or in the closet with a single bit indicator of universal applicability. One might well be out to family, friends, co-workers, acquaintances, and so forth, and never actively hiding their sexuality, but discover that, as a public figure or celebrity, they aren’t known to be gay or out to the broader public. There are out in one way but not in another. It would behoove us to recognize that outness is not a simple either/or, all or nothing category, even if one also wants to reject any and all closets of any sort or any circumstance.

  • Mark_in_MN

    I think you’re on the right track. It doesn’t do any good to make coming out a traumatic experience (or any more traumatic than it needs to be). It doesn’t do any good to help some people out being bitter about themselves, their sexuality, or those who share their sexuality by forcing the issue. One of the reasons that people fell much happier after coming out is that it involves personal growth, self-autonomy, and personal empowerment. Forcing people doesn’t necessarily reinforce those things, and might even undermine them, at least for a time.

  • Mark_in_MN

    I find it interesting so much attention is being placed on Tim Cook and his being named in that segment, rather than one of the things that James Stewart said, namely that he had called a number of gay CEOs of publicly traded companies and not a single one of them wanted their name used. That indicates a far more significant issue than Tim Cook’s status, and one worth some consideration. That consideration might shed some light on the matter of Tim Cook, too.

  • Indigo

    You make it sound like a variation on WalMart.

  • Indigo

    I was wondering the same thing.

  • SkippyFlipjack

    CNBC didn’t out Tim Cook. If anyone did, it was NPR. I remembered hearing a correction involving Tim Cook from a couple weeks ago, and I found it on their site. This is from the June 13th edition of All Things Considered:

    MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: It’s time now for your letters. And first, a few moments to set some things straight. Yesterday, my co-host Audie Cornish spoke with John Browne, the former CEO of BP, who stepped down in 2007 amid a scandal involving a male escort. Now Browne has written a book urging the business world to create a better environment for gay and lesbian employees.

    JOHN BROWNE: Certainly, if you look at the S&P 500, there isn’t one out, gay CEO.

    BLOCK: Well, several of you pointed out an oversight on Browne’s part. Peter Tenney (ph) of Baltimore writes, in point of fact, Tim Cook of Apple is openly gay. It doesn’t make the acceptance of homosexuals in business any better, but at least it’s not the hopelessly barren world he painted.

  • pericles9

    Who watches CNBC anyway?

  • Ninong

    Very good clip, thanks!!

  • mark_in_toronto

    The day we can put as much importance to being gay as being left-handed, we will finally be civilized. Until then, it’s still a very bigoted world. Every time you make that an issue with a person, you are no better than the worst of them.

  • Ninong

    So anyone who doesn’t share your particular view of what is and isn’t acceptable behavior is ipso facto a coward?

  • Ninong

    Why should he discuss his sexual orientation? Do straight people make a habit of formally announcing that they are straight?

    He has absolutely no obligation to make any official announcement about his sexual orientation. It has absolutely nothing to do with his professional life.
    I’m sure all the people who do matter to him already know his orientation, so there is nothing to discuss.

    By the way, I’m not “making excuses for these timid self-loathing people,” I’m criticizing you and others who think like you. Who are you to tell someone else what they must do? He’s not in the closet at all. He works tirelessly to promote full equality for LGBT people and for the passage of ENDA.

    He lives his beliefs every single day and he requires all of Apple’s suppliers worldwide to comply the with company’s equal employment policies regardless of local custom.

  • The_Fixer

    Yeah, our local Hobby Lobby has tons of decorative plates, crafts, and the furniture you mentioned. There was a lot of stuff that you really couldn’t call hobby-related. Unless you collect that ridiculously expensive novelty furniture.

    We’ve actually got 2 good hobby stores in my town, and I’m grateful that they’re here. While I don’t often need the stuff that they sell, it sure is great to know that they’re around should I need them.

    Otherwise, yes, the only way to get some stuff is to buy it on-line.

  • dcinsider

    Wrong. It simply means he and you are ashamed. Stop kidding yourself. No self aware person makes statements like “no need for his sexual orientation to be a matter of public discussion”.

    Cowards make me physically ill.

  • dcinsider

    No ore closets and no more enabling closet dwellers. Stop making excuses for them.

  • dcinsider

    He should be out because the message he sends is that he is ashamed of himself and being gay. That is why he absolutely should discuss his orientation.

    There is nothing private about one’s sexual orientation. Nothing. You are either out or you are ashamed. There is not some middle ground of false privacy. This “privacy” BS is a canard for shame. In fact, when a gay person uses the word “privacy” you can just go ahead and substitute the word “shame” because that is exactly what it means.

    There are no closeted heterosexuals. There is no closet for straight people. It does not exist. That is because in every society, it is accepted as “normal.” There is not a heterosexual person on the planet that “prefers to keep their private life private” when discussing their sexual orientation.

    Until every single gay man and lesbian is out, we will have the shroud of shame covering all of us.

    Stop making excuses for these timid self-loathing people. Tim Cook needs to grow a sack.

  • Denver Catboy

    I agree that we should treat gay relationships the same way we treat straight relationships — respect the personal bounds of one’s private space, not expect them to make a big hubub over whether they are gay or straight, and definitely not try to pigeon-hole them over who they are seen in public with…..

    But that’s just me.

  • Naja pallida

    Yeah, they don’t carry many specialty items. Lots of paper crafts, framing, and yarn. Even their fabric department is kinda lacking. Most of their retail floorspace is taken up by random bric a brac, and ridiculously expensive novelty furniture, not hobby or art-related items. I buy most of my stuff from online retailers these days. Products are cheaper and I get a much better selection. I wish I had a local hobby supplier to support. I did like Hobby Lobby’s clearance section… bottles of Vallejo airbrush paints for 99 cents, when they’re usually >$3? Yes, please.

  • The_Fixer

    It’s also a pretty poor excuse for a hobby store, too. I went in there once looking for some miniature gears and pulleys, nothing even remotely like that there. Everything is arts and crafts type stuff, they are far from a proper hobby store.

  • Naja pallida

    Sadly, in many places, Hobby Lobby has put pretty much all the mom and pop hobby stores out of business. And… well, lots of people do arts and crafts.

  • Indigo

    Oh, well, who shops Hobby Lobby anyway?

  • keirmeister

    I was totally kidding playfully!

  • Ninong

    Tim Cook is one of the most powerful business leaders in the world. He and his company, Apple, strongly support gay rights and push for the passage of ENDA. Everyone know he is gay already. He doesn’t hide it.
    I’m sure there are very good reasons why he prefers not to talk about his sexual orientation. He does talk about equal rights for all regardless of their sexual orientation.

    Why should he make a public declaration of his personal orientation? It’s nobody’s business. His company’s products are sold worldwide. Why should his sexual orientation be a topic of discussion in countries where that is considered criminal behavior?

    It’s up to him if and when he wants to come out. He’s not a closeted Republican congressman who votes against gay rights and deserves to be outed. He works very hard for equal rights for gays in every aspect of life.

  • Ninong

    If he actually came out that might be true, but I doubt that the mainstream business media will refer to him as “Apple’s gay CEO.” He’s gay but he doesn’t want to allow his sexual orientation to be a topic of discussion every time someone disagrees with Apple’s official policies in support of workplace equality and other social issues.

    Just last week Tim Cook said that any shareholders who don’t like Apple’s positions on issues like climate change or equal rights for all should just “get out of the stock.” Apple strongly supports ENDA.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    You are correct about being closeted having caused their problems, but it’s their life, man. I don’t know about you, but I came out, I wasn’t outed. We need to keep pounding the idea of coming out into their heads. I know of no one who hasn’t felt much happier after coming out. We need to keep letting the closeted know just that. Many who were outed just keep denying their truth, so what good is that?

  • Ryan

    We’re not talking about saying that people are gay based on speculation. We are talking about not demanding an official announcement before acknowledging that people who are in semi-public long term relationships with a person of the same sex are in a long term relationship with a person of the same sex.

    We should treat gay relationships the same way we treat straight relationships.

  • Ryan

    He doesn’t need to make an official announcement, but we shouldn’t treat it as a dirty secret unless he makes an official announcement. Imagine how ridiculous it would be for everyone to treat discussing the fact that a person who attends synagogue every week is Jewish as unethical unless they explicitly acknowledge being Jewish in a public forum.

  • Ninong

    Elvis Presley may have been gay. Some people think he was probably gay. In fact, Ann Margaret, who dated him, implies that he was probably gay. He started dating Priscilla when she was only 14, then married her 7 years later.

    Another one who is widely assumed to be gay is Tom Cruise. Were his marriages arranged by Scientology? Strange how he proposed to his last wife after dating her for only six weeks.

  • Naja pallida

    I think most of the problem comes with being the first (or nearly the first). For years now any time Tim Cook is ever mentioned in a news story, whether it pertains to the story or not, he’ll be “Apple’s gay CEO”. As if that makes him do the job any differently than anyone else who could be in the position. Just like how Jason Collins and Michael Sam are never mentioned anymore without the caveat that they’re gay. I bet Hobby Lobby’s straight CEO, David Green, is very happy today. Corporatist bigoted nonsense has once again bought the Supreme Court.

  • Indigo

    Travolta. I keep forgetting about him. He lives up the road a few miles. Forgettable. But yeah . . . if he isn’t gay, it’s because L. Ron said he isn’t or something like that.

  • Ninong

    John Travolta is very well known to be gay, yet he still denies it. Matt Drudge is gay but he doesn’t want to lose his dumb homophobic readers who still think he’s straight. Ken Mehlman was known to be gay since his college years, yet he worked night and day during the Bush Campaign of 2000 to do everything he possibly could to harm gays! He’s the one responsible for getting all those anti-gay constitutional bans on same-sex marriage on the ballot in so many states in the 2000 election. He wanted to get out the fundie Christian base for Bush. It doesn’t matter if he has since “repented” for his extremely homophobic conduct. He can’t erase what he did. He’s now out of the closet — so what?!!

  • Indigo

    And then there’s David Muir who either is or should be gay. Difficult to say, but either way . . . he’s hot! And Keanu Reeves used to be thought gay-ish but . . . that’s kind of way back now. And then there was Ricky Nelson who maybe . . . but then he died in a plane crash and . . . the beat goes on.

    The problem here isn’t the individuals, it’s the gossipy media looking for a gee-whiz tag.

  • Ninong

    He’s obviously out; he just prefers not to say so “officially,” and I agree with his decision. There’s no need for his sexual orientation to be a matter of public discussion. That would be an unnecessary distraction and a point of discussion for some homophobic members of the business community worldwide. Apple does business in just about every country in the world. Some of those countries are not as accepting as others.

  • Ninong

    I’m saying that maybe the mainstream media didn’t “out” Tim Cook. Maybe it was Out Magazine who named him Number One on their list of the most influential gay people in America every year for the past few years who “outed” him and maybe that news was reported on AmericaBlog? In fact, I’m sure it was.

    If you’re reading AmericaBlog, which you obviously are, then maybe that’s where we got the impression that Tim Cook is gay? In case you haven’t noticed, this is a gay site.

  • MyrddinWilt

    Maybe we have got to the point where being gay is no longer sufficiently remarkable to remark on. If not, we are approaching that point.

    If he is out to his friends and family does that mean he is in the closet if he doesn’t make a separate statement to the public?

    Being a public figure can be a no win situation. If you don’t come out then you are hiding something. If you come out then people will say you are making an issue out of it to take advantage.

    It is also possible he isn’t gay, he might be bi or gender fluid or celibate. There are folk who spend their time policing the gay community telling people they are not gay enough.

  • dcinsider

    Yes. If they ever hope to live in a state that will protect them from discrimination, they are not going to get there by living in the closet. They live in a state that fails to protect them from discrimination BECAUSE they are closeted. It is the closet that invites the discrimination, and it is leaving the closet that will end it.

    Many of us risked our jobs and families to be out and work against discrimination. That is how things change. So the answer to your question is an emphatic YES.

    No more free rides. Sometimes the only way a bird will test its wings is if it is pushed out of the nest. Nothing teaches you to fly faster than falling.

  • Ninong
  • keirmeister

    I uh….don’t read….ummm…gay sites. What are you implying? ;)

  • Elijah Shalis
  • Ninong

    Yes, I remember reading those stories but maybe we read them on gay sites?? I definitely remember reading exactly what you remember.

  • Ninong

    I guess that means Mike Jeffries, the CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch, is still officially in the closet. He’s still married to the same woman he married 43 years ago but he lives openly with his partner, Matthew Smith, and, as any of his employees can tell you, he’s gay.

  • Thom Allen

    I was reading about the CNBC outing when it first happened. The author mentioned that Tim has been out for years and gave a link. I didn’t go to the link. If I run across it again, and it’s true, I’ll post it here.

    Some people have commented that a CEO announcing that he’s gay might do damage to the company. e.g anti-gay stock owners might sell off, anti-gay buyers might refuse to buy, gay unfriendly companies might not want to do business with that company, etc. That might be something to consider if the business is small or struggling. But other major corporations with non-gay CEOs have championed equal rights and haven’t seemed to have suffered (e.g. Starbucks.) I doubt that Tim announcing that he’s gay would have a major downside on Apple revenues.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    You would out them even if it will cost them their job? In many states that can happen. If they’re a hypocrite, out away, but I just can’t agree about outing anyone over 25. Coming out was a bit traumatic for me, although I was in a glass closet. It would be wonderful if everybody in the closet would come out, but I really couldn’t support the idea of outing people. They’ll come out when they’re ready, and some will never come out.

  • Denver Catboy

    For the longest time, people assumed I was gay. Not because I showed interest in guys, but because I didn’t show interest in girls. What no one knew was that I just believed in being a gentleman, and keeping my most private of thoughts private. But I am, and have always been, heterosexual. I have to wonder how I’d respond to being ‘outed’ as gay when I wasn’t, and I have to wonder how other people would respond as well.

    I may miss my mark here, but trying to pull someone out of the closet who was never in the closet to begin with is likely to irritate them. Missing your guess is the only real difference between that scenario and the scenario where a gay but private person is outed against their will. I’m pretty sure both would result in annoyance with the person or people doing the outing.

  • dcinsider

    I thought he was out, too.

    I frankly no longer agree with the statement that people have a right to remain in the closet. While young people should certainly be permitted to come out at their own pace, adults simply cannot hide anymore, and we should stop enabling them.

    Anyone who reaches the age of 25 and remains in the closet is fair game. I mean anyone.

    Permitting an adult to remain in the closet is our own stamp of approval on their shame (and by implication our own shame.) We must cease this behavior.

    Does that mean we need to actively out everyone we meet? Of course not. But if Sally is dating Brenda, and pretending to be straight, I have no obligation to participate in Sally’s subterfuge. If asked, or if it comes up in conversation, Sally should not expect me to “cover for her.”

    If we all adopt the attitude that the closeted person has no particular right to remain in the closet, then I think we win. We need to STOP permitting this behavior, and by that I mean we simply STOP participating in the lie.

  • The_Fixer

    I thought this was settled long ago. I remember reading about him in the Out Magazine’s “Power 100″ article. I truly thought that he was out already.

    It seems to me that Cook’s silence on that indicates that he had no objection to being on that “gay list”, so to speak. And I am a little bit conflicted on that. On the one hand, do we need for every person who is gay to publicly proclaim it? On the other, visibility is good and can help pave the way for a younger person to become more comfortable in their skin, and make it easier for other gay people to come out.

    For better or for worse, being gay is not as big of a deal in some places and in some positions as it once was. It’s a big deal for someone who lives in a tight-knit rural community with an evangelical church as the center of a small-town society. In Silicon Valley, no big deal.

    Personally, I think it’s much more important for “little people”, the average folk who are not CEOs of major corporations to come out. We are more average, therefore easier to relate to. Of course there is value in sports and show business celebrities coming out. Is there value in a CEO of a major electronics company making a big splash? I don’t know. I wonder if the average person knew who Tim Cook is before this happened, and whether they will care much.

  • keirmeister

    What I don’t understand is that when Cook took over at Apple, many news outlets noted it would make him one of the most powerful gay people in the world. I thought he WAS out! It wasn’t until this recent CNBC brouhaha that I realized I have never actually seen or heard Cook mention his sexuality…I only assumed I did; and perhaps the reason he never really talked about it was because he didn’t have to.

    Considering Apple’s power and corporate personality, there’s no reason for the company to be afraid of having an openly gay CEO. Of course, it’s also Cook’s choice as to how he wants to be defined….and perhaps “Gay CEO” is not it. Hence his silence.

  • heimaey

    Doing the damage control…he’s better off embracing it then bringing bad publicity by not commenting on it. Everyone knows. It’s ridiculous.

    As for outing people – I agree John. Silence is approval. Something is off if you don’t want to admit you’re gay publicly like Queen Latifa. Your significant other doesn’t have to love the limelight (look at John Glenn’s wife) but if you’re going to be a public figure, hiding something that big means you are ashamed.

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