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Warm response, industry support in wake of Apple CEO Tim Cook coming out

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Tim Cook, in affirming his sexuality, warms hearts across the tech world, and on Wall Street it appears not to matter that the Apple CEO is gay.

Cook penned an open letter Thursday confirming he's gay, a fact that had long been rumored and an issue the Apple CEO says was always known inside his organization. Cook says he doesn't consider himself to be an activist, but felt compelled to speak up to comfort others who may be feeling alienated.

"We pave the sunlit path toward justice together, brick by brick. This is my brick," stated Cook in his letter.

As the first CEO of a Fortune 500 company to affirm his sexual orientation as gay, Cook's announcement is historic. Jim Edwards, founding editor of Business Insider U.K., said it was well known in the tech industry that Cook is gay, but he described the announcement as "heartbreaking."

"This is kinda heartbreaking," states Edwards. "Straight people don't have to write essays about their sex life in Businessweek in the hopes of preventing school kids from being bullied. But gay CEOs do."

Chad Griffin, president of Human Rights Campaign, pointed to the lives that will be improved as a result of Cook opening up on the private matter.

"Tim Cook's announcement today will save countless lives," says Griffin. "He has always been a role model, but today millions across the globe will draw inspiration from a different aspect of his life."

Inside Cook's company, Apple chairman Art Levinson applauded the CEO.

"[Cook's] decision to speak out will help advance the cause of equality and inclusion far beyond the business world. On behalf of the board and our entire company, we are incredibly proud to have Tim leading Apple," states Levinson.

Meanwhile, Cook's announcement failed to give pause to Wall Street. Life went on as usual and faith in Apple remained unwavering.

"From a company and investor perspective, it's a nonevent because Tim has already proven he's an excellent CEO," states Gene Munster, an Apple analyst at Piper Jaffray. "I don't think it changes anything. I hope this is another stepping stone toward equality."

Being gay has helped Cook understand what it's like to be in minority group, giving him a window into some of the challenges they face, the Apple CEO states in his letter.

"It's made me more empathetic, which has led to a richer life," states Cook. "It's been tough and uncomfortable at times, but it has given me the confidence to be myself, to follow my own path, and to rise above adversity and bigotry. It's also given me the skin of a rhinoceros, which comes in handy when you're the CEO of Apple."

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