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Steve Jobs Describes the First Time He Met a Gay Man, in New Bio

I've been reading Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs , which came out today, and I was curious to know if the book described any of Jobs' interactions with gay and lesbian friends or employees.

JobsThe book does, in fact, discuss Steve Jobs' first encounter with someone gay, and how he handled it, and it happened shortly after February 1974, when Jobs became one of the first fifty employees of Atari.

Jobs developed a reputation at the company for arrogance and body odor, two qualities that made many of the employees want to avoid him. He did find one close friend, however.

I've transcribed this segment by hand, so apologies in advance for any inaccuracies to the original text, or typos:

Not all of his coworkers shunned Jobs. He became friends with Ron Wayne, a draftsman at Atari, who had earlier started a company that built slot machines. It subsequently failed, but Jobs became fascinated with the idea that it was possible to start your own company. "Ron was an amazing guy," said Jobs. "He started companies. I had never met anybody like that." He proposed to Wayne that they go into business together; Jobs said he could borrow $50,000, and they could design and market a slot machine. But Wayne had already been burned in business, so he declined. "I said that was the quickest way to lose $50,000," Wayne recalled, "but I admired the fact that he had a burning drive to start his own business."

One weekend Jobs was visiting Wayne at his apartment, engaging as they often did in philosophical discussions, when Wayne said that there was something he needed to tell him. "Yeah, I think I know what it is," Jobs replied. "I think you like men." Wayne said yes. "It was my first encounter with someone who I knew was gay," Jobs recalled. "He planted the right perspective of it for me." Jobs grilled him: "When you see a beautiful woman, what do you feel?" Wayne replied, "It's like when you look at a beautiful horse. You can appreciate it, but you don't want to sleep with it. You appreciate beauty for what it is." Wayne said that it is a testament to Jobs that he felt like revealing this to him. "Nobody at Atari knew, and I could count on my toes and fingers the number of people I told in my whole life. But I guess it just felt right to tell him, that he would understand, and it didn't have any effect on our relationship."

In related news, Apple has posted its company memorial to Jobs on its website.

You can also watch 60 Minute lengthy segment on Jobs from last night, AFTER THE JUMP...

Watch the rest HERE.

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  1. new Apple CEO Tim Cook is a hoo hoo and rice queen, FYI

    Posted by: Jackie | Oct 24, 2011 3:22:52 PM

  2. I thought I'd at least be able to get away from Apple fanboys on a gay blog, but apparently not. I shouldn't be surprised, some gay men do love flashy, shiny things.

    Posted by: Bryan | Oct 24, 2011 3:40:23 PM

  3. This is indeed a strange thread.

    Xerox was the first company to come up with a PC, and walked away from it. And still regrets it. Apple is fine (I am an apple user at home) but is not the second the coming, or the devil, or whatever. It just has a really strong brand, and a line of products that appeal to people who don't need to do any hardcore computing or whatever. Or just simpler interfaces than a lot of other machines. Jobs was just a guy who made some good decisions, and made a lot of money.

    Posted by: T | Oct 24, 2011 4:26:37 PM

  4. "Judging by the anti-Jobs tone here and elsewhere, I'd say Mr. Jobs led a very successful life."

    By that criteria, you must think Hitler could do no wrong.

    "By the way, what have YOU or the rest of the snarks here done that have changed humanity, for the better?"

    You put way too much importance on gadgets. Having generations of children suffer in sweatshops so that Middle Class Americans can have toys is not changing humanity for the better. The ways you actually change humanity for the better is not what Jobs did with his life.

    What Steve Jobs did do is decide that I shouldn't be allowed to use my own phone in the ways that I wanted to use it, including forbidding me to see material that he believed wasn't appropriate for a heavily-sheltered child. Hopefully, his successors will make better choices and the culture that Apple pretends to embrace will become the one they actually embrace.

    Posted by: ohplease | Oct 24, 2011 7:40:49 PM

  5. Some people have to kiss ass and some don't, Steve Jobs did not.

    He was the kind of boss only liked by competent employees.

    He made a lot of money and only consumed a little bit of it.

    Best of all, he was interesting.

    Posted by: Notes to whiners | Oct 24, 2011 9:18:35 PM

  6. Anastasia, love u.



    Posted by: just_a_guy | Oct 24, 2011 11:40:10 PM

  7. I think the level of backlash comes not from the fact that most people are "vilifying" Steve, but simply that many of us are frankly, mystified by the level of memorial he is attracting. He was a CEO of a company. Despite what some people think, he did not design his expensive gadgets (and let's be clear here- that's what they are, they have not "changed the world" in any significant way and will be forgotten as soon as a better expensive gadget comes along). He did not invent anythign. He did not cure disease, he did not help people philanthropically (I'm curious about the above poster who insists Jobs gave anonymously. How the hell does he know that?). He ran a very successful company that makes products people like (I refuse to fall into the trap of saying they're "well-designed" because people who don't know design seem to think that design is strictly about form and not about function. To me, a tablet computer that doesn't even have a place to hook on a strap is not "well designed.") I have no idea why that rated a statement from the president.

    Posted by: Chris | Oct 25, 2011 10:38:13 AM

  8. I remember in my earlys 20s the first time that I met someone openly bisexual. He was kind and wanted to date me, but I just couldn't wrap my head around somebody being attracted to both men and women. I was just coming out to myself and my friends as a gay man so I couldn't handle this extra layer of complexity in my life. Here's hoping that someday soon everyone's sexuality can be respected.

    Posted by: sleepy bear | Oct 25, 2011 7:08:22 PM

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