Being gay shouldn’t get you on the news

Andy Frakes

Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook announced last week that he is gay. The biggest takeaway, however, is that a CEO coming out as homosexual is no longer considered truly newsworthy.

Andy Frakes

The question being posed isn’t how the man can possibly be gay and run a company. The question is one that showcases how far we’ve come in the past 10 years, even the past five, as a society:

“Why does it even matter?”

In a post about the story, a Reddit commenter said as much in his own colorful way.

“Who cares about his sexuality?” Reddit user ujorge said on the issue. “I’ve always wanted to write him hate mail about why Apple is suddenly having quality issues with its software. Fix that and I couldn’t care less if he’s polygamous and wants to marry four guys.”

The newsworthiness of Cook’s statement shifts the spotlight from his own announcement to the audience receiving it, because what is worth knowing, once again, isn’t that Cook is gay. It’s that the world is beginning to understand that his orientation is a non-factor when it comes to getting your iOS updates and Apple Pay squared away.

Instead of having the general public question his ability to be both gay and running a major company, jokes are being made it would be far more shocking for Cook to come out as a Windows user. People are finally realizing that sexuality doesn’t matter in the context of competency, just like skin color and gender.

The things that DO matter, such as experience, intelligence, education and motivation, are totally unrelated to surface-level factors. In fact, as the public has been quick to point out, the fact that Cook’s sexuality even makes headlines is a reason to shake our heads. =

We Mac users care more about the latest update for OSX Yosemite and iOS 8; as long as there’s no service disruption, the personal details of the CEO don’t matter to us.

Christin DeFord, junior and photography major, first heard about Cook’s announcement from the Associated Press mobile app. She saw the news as a net neutral.

“It’s not that no one cares, it’s just that we’re all okay with it,” DeFord said. “Nobody’s going to stop buying Apple’s products, partly because they’re a status symbol, but mainly because it’s a neutral statement to most people. At least, it is to me. It’s okay to be homosexual, or female, or a person of color and to also be a leader.”

Cook’s own words on the matter were of reassurance and encouragement to the LGBT community at large.

“… if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy,” Cook said in his announcement.             

With Jobs at its helm Apple has disrupted multiple facets of modern technology in its innovations, according to Sam Gustin of Time Magazine: mobile phones, music storage, tablet computers, animation and others. Apple’s market shares took a hit in value when Jobs died in 2011, but the company has continued to hold its place at the forefront of the tech field.

Cook has been doing an objectively good job running Apple in the wake of losing its leading man and visionary creative director, and while we haven’t seen another iPod-level tech innovation from Cook, we have seen the company keeping up with the ever-evolving tech market under Cook’s guidance.

It is hoped that between a society making yearly progress toward tolerance and an already-liberal environment in the field of technology, Cook’s announcement can remain what it should be: a calm statement that is newsworthy because he’s a public figure, and not because what he did is sensational.