[…] As soon as the story hit the wires, Twitter erupted with cheers. But more or less immediately, various commentators sought out to change the subject. Marketwatch published a bizarre piece titled “14 facts about Tim Cook more interesting than his sexual orientation.” The no. 1 fact is that “he’s fastidious,” and the piece only gets more boring from there (“Cook is a cycling enthusiast”).
On Twitter, dozens of people wondered why we couldn’t all just “move on.”
@jerrydoyle: Apple CEO Tim Cook Admits That He’s Gay - Great – let’s move on and make the discussion about rebuilding our economy.
@12kyle: Tim Cook is gay. Water is wet. Who cares? Move on folks. Love who you like and live. It’s that simple.
@loquterz: Ya ya Tim Cook’s gay. Move on. A persons sexual orientation shldn’t be big news. What shld be is y the heck is the new iPhones so expensive!
In other words: Now let us never speak of this again.
On the surface, tweets like these seem to reflect a lukewarm support for Cook. But they also betray a deep discomfort with the idea of gay people in public life, and even with sexuality itself. […]
It is one thing for the media to whisper to one another, or to post on their blogs, that the CEO of America’s most valuable company is a gay man. And it is a quite another for the man himself to step up to the microphone, with confidence and grace, and tell us himself. We knew Cook was gay; what we didn’t know is how he felt about it. Or, at a time when being gay is still very much a political act, what he planned to do with it.
Now we know.
There was a time when I struggled to come to terms with myself; when I felt alone; when I scanned the horizon looking for someone to point the way forward for me. There was a time when the only other gay men I knew were the ones I saw in TV and movies, and they seemed nothing like me. It feels embarrassing to say now that what I wanted back then was a role model — someone confident in himself, powerful, a real leader — to give me permission to be myself. But I very much did.
And many still do, particularly younger people, and particularly younger people growing up in the more rural and religious parts of America. Someday, maybe someday soon, we’ll hear about how Cook’s essay today helped someone there through a difficult time. And then we’ll hear it again, and again, and again.
So “move on,” if Cook’s essay today makes you so uncomfortable. Return to talking about his fastidiousness, or his supply-chain management, or whatever. But there’s no moving on for me, not today. This I’m going to savor.
The Verge, Casey Newton: “Thank you, Tim Cook.”