In what may be the biggest 'coming out' of all -- and that includes Ellen DeGeneres, George Michael, Elton John, and maybe even Michael Sam -- Apple CEO Tim Cook declared to the world a long-rumored but never publicly declared truth, stating "I am a proud gay man" in an op ed for BloombergBusinessweek.com.
Homophobic business and financial leaders, and conservative politicians probably share limited respect for prowess in music or the arts, but when the global leader of arguably the world's most talk-about and valued brand adds himself to this ever-growing 'out and proud' list, it changes the game (except in places like Russia).
The fact remains in our society that success, money and power equals respect, and can also shatter stereotypes. Cook is without doubt one of the world's most influential, powerful business leaders, so it's safe to say that homophobia in the boardroom will be more frowned upon than ever thanks to Cook's declaration.
In his thoughtful piece, the 53-year-old Cook also speaks to something equally important -- there is no singular definition of 'out and proud' anymore. To be sure, the LBGT community owes a mountain of debt to those brave souls - such as Harvey Milk, Larry Kramer, and so many others -- whose coming out paved the way for massive progress such as gay marriage and other civil rights victories.