Tim Cook receives award for his LGBT activism

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Tim Cook has been a tireless champion of the LGBT community.
Photo: Human Rights Campaign

Over the weekend, Tim Cook received the Human Rights Campaign Visibility Award in Washington D.C. for his work as an outspoken voice in support of the LGBT community.

Cook — who came out as gay last year — delivered a great acceptance speech in which he talked about his decision to publicly reveal his sexuality as well as talking about the numerous advances LGBT rights have made within his lifetime.

Check it out below.

In an excerpt from the speech (transcribed by Re/code) Cook noted that:

“I wrote an essay that was deeply personal. I wanted to lend my voice to people who might not be ready to exercise theirs. It was an open letter to the public, but it was addressed most of all to everyone who had been rejected by their friends, their communities, or even their families simply because of who they are. I’ll tell you I did not do it for attention. I’m a private person by nature. Growing up I was taught that you distinguish yourself in life by what you do, not by what you say or by how loudly you say it. But sometimes you just have to be loud. People need to hear that being gay is not a limitation. People need to hear that being gay doesn’t restrict your options in life. People need to hear that you can be gay or transgender and be whatever else you want to in life.”

During his tenure as Apple CEO, Tim Cook has been a great vocal campaigner for the LGBT community.

Since coming out as gay in an eloquently-written editorial, he has become an important figurehead — whether it’s participating in San Francisco’s Gay Pride parade, or speaking out against Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s controversial religious freedom bill SB1062, which critics suggested would allow companies to discriminate against LGBT people using religious beliefs.

This summer, Apple’s ResearchKit was announced as the platform for what will be the largest-ever national study of LGBT health, through the creation of an iPhone app called The Pride Study.

Regardless of whether LGBT issues affect you, it’s hard not to be moved by Cook’s passionate plea for tolerance.

Am I the only one who thinks, each time I hear Cook talk, that Steve Jobs’ famous 2005 commencement speech at Stanford may be in danger of losing its place as “best public speech delivered by an Apple CEO”?