By: Steven Goodman- Asst. Opinions Editor
It’s been a couple weeks since Apple’s CEO Tim Cook announced in an op-ed that he is “proud to be gay,” thereby joining a small group of openly gay chief executive officers.
After Cook released an essay that officially outed himself, I imagine there was a large majority of people expecting something major to change either at Apple or in how individuals perceived Apple.
Surprisingly, there seemed to be absolutely no change on either of these fronts.
Maybe there was no change because there have been rumors circulating about Cook’s sexuality and because CNBC host Simon Hobbs accidently outed Cook earlier this year. Whatever the reason, there hasn’t been a noticeable shift in public opinion of Apple, which is a good sign. That’s because the sexual orientation of a CEO does not matter.
In his essay, Cook stressed that he always treated his sexual orientation as a private matter, which he should. I think part of the reason he came out was because the public was continually questioning if Cook is gay or not.
Obviously, Cook’s orientation has no effect on his business and leadership abilities; the same goes for all leaders. In his essay, he even states that he’s been open about his sexuality in his personal life, including colleagues in Apple. Just in case anyone out there believes his orientation would make a difference in his leadership abilities, you can see it wasn’t a secret from those he led.
It seems to me that the only reason any CEO has come out publicly as gay is due to public pressure or rumors circulating. Even with other companies, there doesn’t seem to be any change in public opinion of the business when CEOs have publicly announced their orientation.
It almost seems that we as a people just want to know these things, which we shouldn’t because the sexual orientation of a leader, or anyone for that matter, ultimately has no effect – and we have no right to know.
America has obviously changed its tone toward public figures coming out as gay. In fact, it seems more common to boycott a brand when its CEO comes out against gay marriage (remember what happened with Chick-fil-A?). In my mind, this is a good change, and I’m glad it’s happening.
The biggest message that Cook seems to send out in his essay is that his personal life should be private, and I couldn’t agree more. While we as a country, especially recently, seem to have little issue with major public figures announcing they are gay, wouldn’t it be better left private? It’s one thing for these figures to come out on their own accord, but pressuring them into doing so is just uncalled for. After all, does a well-known or famous individual’s sexual orientation really have any effect on us? I say no.