Apple CEO’s coming out triggers diverse international responses

Proclaiming his homosexuality as one of the greatest gifts God bestowed on him, Tim Cook, Apple CEO, officially acknowledged the long-held assumption about his sexual orientation on Oct. 30 in the Bloomberg Businessweek. Cook decided to come out in hopes that his coming out would inspire others with similar identity struggles. While many famous figures commended Cook for his decision, other, more conservative groups showed hostile responses.

Many, including Mark Zuckerburg, founder of Facebook and former US President Bill Clinton, praised Cook’s coming out as a brave move that would instigate social change. Business mogul John Browne, former CEO of British Petroleum, who also came out after retirement, claimed Cook’s decision was an “important step in the journey towards full and uncompromising inclusion of LGBT people.”

“I think [Cook’s announcement] was one of the bravest acts of the year,” said Yoon Lee (11), long-time Apple user. “It must have taken a lot of courage for someone as influential as Tim Cook to come out and I truly respect him for that. I doubt his coming out will have any economic impact on the company, because I don’t believe the sexuality of the CEO will affect the way in which the company functions.”

While many news reporters, such as Mark Gongloff of the Huffington Post, showcased positive reactions towards the CEO’s disclosure by claiming Cook had changed America in a way former CEO Steve Jobs never could, conservative groups such as the Russian government demonstrated disapproval of Cook’s announcement by dismantling the memorial dedicated to Jobs. Despite the Russian government’s claim that this memorial, which was installed in St. Petersburg last year, was taken down for repairs, many have doubted the legitimacy of this claim due to Russia’s notorious anti-gay stance.

Additionally, Russian politician Vitaly Minolov, who contributed to the banning of same sex marriage in Russia, expressed strong negative sentiments about Cook’s announcement. Minolov urged that Cook be banned from the country, claiming that his entrance could result in an outbreak of Ebola or AIDS, a claim with no scientific reasoning.

“I think it’s ridiculous that people are still so fearful of [homosexuality],” said April Johnson, librarian and MUN advisor. “In Russia and other more conservative areas where even books with homosexual characters are banned, concepts such as homosexuality are bound to be perceived as foreign because the people there do not have the opportunity to experience diversity. But it is essential that these communities and their libraries become more accepting of the world around them.”