Apple CEO Tim Cook came out as gay in an essay published this morning, Oct. 30, in Bloomberg Businessweek:
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.
It was the worst kept secret in the country. Named CEO of Apple in 2011, we reported it then. Cook has long been suspected as being gay, but has never brought up his sexual orientation. In 2011, OUT named him the most powerful LGBT person in the United States. A CNBC host accidentally outed him in June.
Cook spoke during his inauguration into the Alabama Academy of Honor, denouncing Alabama, his home state, for stalling on LGBT rights on this past Monday, Oct. 27, according to Business Insider.
The National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce lauded Cook’s decision to come out in a statement: “[As] the business voice of the LGBT community, [we] commend Tim Cook for his moving and heartfelt coming out essay. While his story and success are unique, we are proud to say we hear about similar journeys every day from the LGBT Americans, including those who are part of NGLCC. Our goal is to expand economic opportunities and advancements for LGBT people. Tim’s words today will help us in that mission. They also serve as an opening of the door for other LGBT CEOs and senior executives to move forward in knowing there is a safe place for them in the business world.”
The White House announced some of the guests who will be seated in first lady Michelle Obama’s box during the President’s State of the Union address Tuesday. Out former NBA player Jason Collins will be among the guests.
Other guests include a Boston Marathon survivor and his rescuer, the Moore, Okla., fire chief who directed the rescue after a devastating tornado last year, D.C.’s teacher of the year and a 16-year-old Intel intern.
During the State of the Union address, presidents traditionally tell stories about Americans who have made a difference during the year.
Collins played in the NBA for 12 years, making it to the playoffs nine times. In college, he was selected as an All American, named the NCAA’s “Big Man of the Year” and earned an appearance in the Final Four.
Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers described Collins as “the best.”
“He literally is one of the best guys I’ve ever had in the locker room, player or coach,” Collins said.
In April 2013, Collins became the first male player in major American team sports to come out openly as gay.
A statement from the White House described Collins’ coming out as courageous.
The President expressed his gratitude to Collins for his courageous announcement through an article Collins penned himself. The President said he “couldn’t be prouder” of Collins, recognizing this as a point of progress for the LGBT community, and one more step in America’s goal to treat everyone fairly and with respect. Collins is 35 and lives in Los Angeles, California.
“Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts came out Sunday in a touching post thanking her “long time girlfriend,” The Huffington Post reported.
Roberts disclosed the relationship in a Facebook post in which she reflected on the past year. On Dec. 29, 2012, the news anchor celebrated 100 days post bone marrow transplant during her battle with myelodysplastic syndrome.
“At this moment I am at peace and filled with joy and gratitude,” Roberts wrote. “I am grateful to God, my doctors and nurses for my restored good health. I am grateful for my sister, Sally-Ann, for being my donor and giving me the gift of life. I am grateful for my entire family, my long time girlfriend, Amber, and friends as we prepare to celebrate a glorious new year together.”
“I am grateful for the many prayers and well wishes for my recovery. I return every one of them to you 100 fold,” Roberts continued. “On this last Sunday of 2013 I encourage you to reflect on what you are grateful for too.”
Bob Harper, from the reality weight loss competition show The Biggest Loser, came out to help a contestant who was struggling with his own sexuality. The Huffington Post reported 48-year-old Harper came out Tuesday.
Contestant Bobby Saleem Saleem came out as gay on the show, but struggled to break the news of his sexuality to his father. To help encourage Saleem to come out to his dad, Harper decided to share his own story.
“I haven’t talked about my sexuality on this show ever,” Harper said. “And now, meeting Bobby, I really do believe this is the right time. I want to show Bobby that he doesn’t have to live in shame.”
So, Harper sat down with Saleem on camera and publicly came out for the first time.
“I’m gay. I knew I very long time ago that I was gay,” the Tennessee native said. “When I came out — when I was 17 years old — it was one of those things where I realized that there was going to be so many obstacles, but being gay doesn’t mean being weak. And being gay doesn’t mean that you are less than anybody else. It’s just who you are.”
When the TV show Prison Break was filming in North Texas for two seasons, I had the opportunity to meet and interview the show’s star, Wentworth Miller, on three occasions for TV Guide. And on each occasion, my gaydar went off. It could have been simply because he’s was a dreamy, personable, intense fellow, who talked in hushed tones and tended to lean in when he spoke to me. Partly it was that he was renting a condo in Uptown, just near the gayborhood. But I never personally saw Miller on the Strip, nor did he hit on me exactly. (By contrast, Rob Knepper, who played a scary bisexual prisoner on the same series, would leer at me suggestively in character, then smile devilishly. He was great fun.)
So when I read this morning that Miller had come out as gay to protest the treatment of gays in Russia, I can’t say it came as a shock. But it delighted me nonetheless.
Miller hasn’t been much in evidence in recent years as an actor, though he has a hand as a writer for the recent art-house film Stoker (it wasn’t very good, unfortunately). He’s just the latest person this month to come out for political reasons (as I blogged about earlier this week).
I’m happy for Miller. But I’m even happier my gaydar wasn’t off.
Every season, the Lifetime series Drop Dead Diva goes out of its way to include a specific gay storyline for its lawyer character. This season’s episode, which aired last night, featured a pro baseball player who is hiding his homosexuality — even though it may get him convicted of murder.
Co-star Margaret Cho and executive producer Josh Berman sat down with the media to discuss the episode, gays in sports … and whether Cho is really the prime minister of the gays.
If you missed the first several episodes, you can catch up either on-demand or on iTunes. You can watch a clip of last night’s episode here. Below is a transcript of the chat with Berman and Cho.
Question: Josh, you tackled gay proms, gay sperm … was gay sports just the next arena that you needed to dive into for this episode? Josh Berman: Well I think gays in sports is certainly a hot topic right now. We started working on this episode before it became such a prominent issue and getting such coverage in the news. So I’m thrilled that we are hitting this zeitgeist shed again with gay and lesbian issues. I do think that, you know, sports is one of the last frontiers where men and women feel they unfortunately need to be closeted. So it was important for me to address that issue.
Margaret, you’re all over this episode whether you’re helping Stacy with sperm donors or helping Jane with her case .… Margaret Cho: Terri is always doing anything and everything. She’s kind of like a cross between like Alfred and Batman — she’s kind of like the enabler for everything. But what I really love about this episode is that it really talks about an issue that’s very timely, which is, athletes being able to come out of the closet. And I must note that there is a lot of sexism when it comes to this kind of stuff because Martina Navratilova came out as a lesbian over 25 years ago. Martina Navratilova came out when Reagan was in office. I really want to make sure that her contribution to sports, to the LGBT presence in sports, is really noted. And I’m really, really proud of this episode because it goes into the story about how we look at men in sports and we have to sort of have an idea of who they are and what they’re supposed to be. And I think sports in general is quite a homoerotic art form unto itself. So it’s surprising that there’s not more [athletes who are] out actually, but I love this episode because it really talks about some of these very current issues.
Former Baylor basketball player Brittney Griner came out several weeks ago with little attention, but she’s already using her announcement to speak to LGBT youth in an “It Gets Better” video.
In the video, Griner talks about being different growing up and being teased because of it, but she says she’s “6-8 walking proof” that things get better.
“As somebody that grew up taller than everybody, a little bit different than everybody, always voiced my opinion on my sexuality and who I was as an individual,” she said. “I got teased. With big hands, a little deeper voice, big feet. … It was hard growing up but you have to find an outlet. Basketball was my outlet.”
Griner, the WNBA No. 1 Draft pick, wrote about her coming out experience to her family as a teen in The New York Times yesterday. She addresses that while she didn’t feel the need to come out publicly until recently, being gay doesn’t define her any more than being a basketball star defines her.
In the NYT piece, she expresses her pride in Jason Collins for becoming the first male pro-athlete to come out while still playing. But she doesn’t address the lack of attention she received when she came out compared to the media firestorm surrounding Collins’ announcement.
While female athletes are often assumed to be gay — especially if they are masculine — Griner certainly isn’t the first to come out. Tennis players Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova led the way in the ’80s. And major male sports have always attracted larger audiences and have been plagued with more homophobia.
Still, that’s no excuse.
When the No. 1 Draft pick in any sport comes out, it’s news. And it’s rude to assume masculine women athletes are lesbians. It’s just as offensive to assume a gay male athlete must retire before coming out.
But just as Collins broke the mold by coming out and still continuing his career, he’s set the pace for more male athletes to be true to themselves and come out still playing. That’s where I agree with Griner in her NYT piece. I, too, am “more optimistic than ever that people are ready” for more gay athletes to come out.
July has already been a momentous month for the LGBT community. Anderson Cooper didn’t so much come out as officially confirm that he identified as gay early in the week. Then, for some July 4 fireworks, Odd Future member Frank Ocean candidly talked about his past relationship with a man in a telling Tumblr post. A lengthy letter that was heartfelt and poetic (while never using the “g” or the “b” words) left no doubt that Ocean has come out of the closet as a member of the community — and as a bona fide hip-hop star.
There has been speculation on Ocean’s sexuality recently on blog buzz reviews about his upcoming album Channel Orange. MTV reported that he had openly used “him” in many of his songs which had been picked up on by those reviews. Ocean’s clearly in a more comfortable space, but could it be lost on the LGBT community?
The White House announced a new video contest Monday for LGBT Pride Month.
Along the lines of the White House Champions of Change series that spotlights Americans doing great things to create change and a positive impact in their community, the LGBT Pride Month Champions of Change Video Challengewill visually explore the efforts many Americans are making on behalf of equality.
Videos should be no longer than three minutes and cover issues like coming out stories, struggles with culture and identity, heroes that haven’t been recognized for their work, artwork that inspires acceptance, innovative solutions to challenging situations, and accounts of allies and families who fight for equality.
Various video forms such as music videos, PSAs, short films, video blogs and interviews will be accepted.
Essays of no longer than 750 words will also be accepted. Video and essay entries are due May 4.
Submissions will then be reviewed by a panel that will select semi-finalists. The public will then help select finalists in June to attend a Champions of Change event at the White House.