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Tim Cook And Being Out At Work In America

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook is now 100 percent out and proud. Gay. We’ll look at the landmark moment for gays in the business world.

Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces the new Apple iPad Air 2 during an event at Apple headquarters on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014 in Cupertino, Calif. The CEO publicly acknowledged that he was gay for the first time in a Bloomberg Businessweek column in late October 2014. (AP)

Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces the new Apple iPad Air 2 during an event at Apple headquarters on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014 in Cupertino, Calif. The CEO publicly acknowledged that he was gay for the first time in a Bloomberg Businessweek column in late October 2014. (AP)

Last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook made history when he became the first Fortune 500 CEO to come out as gay.  And not just out, but proud and very clear about it.  “I consider being gay,” Cook wrote in an essay in Bloomberg Businessweek, “among the greatest gifts God has given me.”  It is striking that in 2014, this was still the first top tier CEO to be publically gay.  And of course, being Apple, this is tip-top tier.  In 29 states, you can still be fired for homosexuality.  This hour On Point:  Tim Cook’s coming out, and how it is today for gays in the American workplace.

— Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Kara Swisher, co-executive editor of Re/Code. (@karaswisher)

Nancy Koehn, historian and professor of business administration at Harvard Business School. (@nancykoehn)

Deena Fidas, director of the Workplace Equality Program at the Human Rights Council. (@deenafidas)

Robert Hanson, CEO of John Hardy and director of Constellation Brands.  Former CEO of American Eagle Outfitters.

From Tom’s Reading List

Bloomberg Businessweek: Tim Cook Speaks Up — “For years, I’ve been open with many people about my sexual orientation. Plenty of colleagues at Apple know I’m gay, and it doesn’t seem to make a difference in the way they treat me. Of course, I’ve had the good fortune to work at a company that loves creativity and innovation and knows it can only flourish when you embrace people’s differences. Not everyone is so lucky. 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.”

New Yorker: Tim Cook And the End of Gay Rights As A Wedge Issue — “Tim Cook’s coming out may be the harbinger of another chapter for the Republican Party, as it looks to its traditional constituencies in the corporate world and Wall Street and finds, increasingly, executives who are not afraid to let them know that they are at odds with the G.O.P.’s position on gay rights.”

Deloitte: Uncovering talent — “Sixty-one percent of respondents reported covering along at least one axis at work. Eighty-three percent of LGB individuals, 79 percent of Blacks, 67 percent of women of color, 66 percent of women, and 63 percent of Hispanics cover. Covering occurred with greater frequency within groups that have been historically underrepresented.”

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