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Tim Cook to Obama: Cyberprivacy is 'Life and Death' Issue for Gay People, Others — VIDEO

Cook

Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke to President Obama on Friday at a White House cybersecurity summit at Stanford University, emphasizing the importance of cybersecurity and touting Apple's efforts at protecting its users.

Said Cook:

"People have entrusted us with their most personal and precious information. We owe them nothing less than the best protections that we can possibly provide...We believe in human rights and human dignity, which is why we put so much thought into how our products are manufactured, not only how they are designed, and we believe deeply that everyone has a right to privacy and security."

He added:

"History has shown us that sacrificing our right to privacy can have dire consequences. We still live in a world where all people are not treated equally. Too many people do not feel free to practice their religion or express their opinion or love who they choose. Or love who they choose. A world in which that information can make the difference between life and death. If those of us in positions of responsibility fail to do everything in our power to protect the right of privacy, we risk something far more valuable than money – we risk our way of life."

Watch a clip and the full speech, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Tim Cook to Obama: Cyberprivacy is 'Life and Death' Issue for Gay People, Others — VIDEO" »


Gay, Bi, Transgender: The 85 Most Powerful Comings Out of 2014

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UPDATED!!!

Due to four notable December announcements - from a Spanish television host, an 'ex-gay' survivor of Michele and Marcus Bachmann's conversion therapy clinic, a national champion swimmer, and a high school all-state soccer goalie, we've updated this list to provide a more complete look back at those who decided to come out in 2014. We've also added a professional strongman that we unfortunately overlooked in our first post. Enjoy these new additions to the list.

*************

"I think coming out...is really about coming out as your authentic self, coming out as the person you always knew you were but no one else may have known, and now you're sharing that honestly with people for the first time."

2014faces2Such is how Rodrigo Lehtinen, the trans son of Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, explained to CBS Miami last month what it meant for him to now be open about who he is.

It's as simple as that, whether you're gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer or some fluid combination of any of them. But it's certainly an act of courage in a world where LGBTQ people face obstacles in marriage, employment, and even basic acceptance. In many places, the status of being 'out' about one's sexual orientation or gender identity is dangerous, even life-threatening.

In 2014 thousands, perhaps millions of people came out all over the world. They all made a difference. The folks featured here are just a few who happened to make a big difference and caught our eye on Towleroad this year. Some are well-known, some are little-known: the CEO of the largest corporation in the world, an NFL player, a Kenyan literary figure, fashion models, the foreign minister of a Baltic state, country singers, Mormon pop stars, a few of the stars of your favorite television shows, and unknowns from the world of YouTube.

When it comes to coming out, 2014 was certainly the year of the athlete.

Of the 80 people on our list this year, more than 1/3 come from the sports world — football, baseball, boxing, tennis, long distance running, hurling, basketball, rowing, and diving. Many of these athletes are making a name for themselves in college sports, many in conservative places. Twenty-one come from the entertainment world. And they are from all over the world — Japan, Peru, Ireland, Uruguay, Brazil, Germany, Australia, Finland, Canada, Spain, Chile, and more... Also, the leader of a company worth more than all the world's airlines combined, worth more than the entire Russian stock market.

It's quite an impressive group of folks. We're proud of all of you. By choosing to come out as L, G, B, T, queer, or whatever label your sexual orientation or gender identity is telling you is yours, you've made life easier for all those who haven't come out yet, and all those who are currently struggling for their civil and human rights.

Please enjoy reading their stories. And share this post with your friends, family, and anyone in the closet to whom you'd like to offer a bit of courage or support.

 

Read on, AFTER THE JUMP...

Contributions to this post were made earlier this year by Kyler Geoffroy, Sean Mandell, Joseph Ehrman-Dupre, Steve Pep, Brian Sloan, Daniel Villareal, Anthony Costello, Jim Redmond, Charles Pulliam-Moore, Christian Walters, John Wright, and Jake Folsom.

Make sure not to miss a Towleroad headline by following @TLRD on Twitter.

Continue reading "Gay, Bi, Transgender: The 85 Most Powerful Comings Out of 2014" »


RuPaul Dishes on Tim Cook, Facebook, and the Queerer Parts of Silicon Valley

RupaulIt’s not often that one thinks of RuPaul as being jacked into the tech-bubble, but the reigning queen of all things drag recently sat down with Engadget’s Joseph Volpe to gab about some of the queerer parts of Silicon Valley. More broadly RuPaul shared his thoughts Facebook’s algorithmic deletion of drag queens, ‘Drag Race’s' dependence on online streaming, and the significance of Tim Cook’s coming out.

“You know, people talk about equality in our culture, and it's based on a kindergarten primary idea of what fairness and equality is,” RuPaul said of Cook’s recent announcement. “But it doesn't get updated as we get older.”

Ru continued:

“You know, [if] somebody who's straight behaves a certain way, nobody bats an eyelash. But if a gay person does the exact same thing, people are like, "Oh my god. It's revolutionary!" [But] it's the exact same thing! And the same is true in any business. Gender plays a huge role in how we see people, how we interpret what they say, whether we know it or not. Most people don't know it. So I applaud him. I think, "Right on!"

Ru also shared his thoughts on "gaymers," and his new mobile game Dragopolis. You can check out the full interview here


Apple CEO Tim Cook Makes 'Substantial' Contribution To HRC Campaign Targeting His Home State Of Alabama

Six weeks after coming out publicly, Apple CEO Tim Cook has made a "substantial" contribution to a campaign aimed at bringing LGBT equality to his home state of Alabama. 

Cook.TimThe Human Rights Campaign announced Cook's contribution Thursday to its Project One America, an $8.5 million, three-year effort targeting Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi. Cook grew up in South Alabama and attended Auburn University. 

The Associated Press reports: 

The amount of Cook's contribution to the Washington-based Human Rights Campaign wasn't disclosed, but the advocacy organization called it "substantial." ... 

The campaign includes advertising on TV and elsewhere, direct-mail fliers and staff members hired in each state.

"We hope Tim Cook's substantial personal investment inspires others to support this vital and historic project," Jason Rahlan, a spokesman for Human Rights Campaign, said in an email.

President Chad Griffin wrote on HRC's blog

When Tim first learned about HRC's Project One America – our bold, comprehensive campaign to dramatically advance equality for LGBT Americans in Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi – he said, “I'm in.” Thanks to his generous personal financial investment in the program, together we will move the needle forward at the local and state level, tearing down misperceptions and providing concrete protections for those who need it most.

Shortly before coming out, Cook delivered a speech in Montgomery in which he said Alabama was moving "too slow on equality for the LGBT community." The state's only openly gay lawmaker recently announced she plans to name a nondiscrimination bill after Cook in the upcoming legislative session. 

Cook, who heads the world's largest corporation, is the only openly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company. 

RedIn related news, Cook announced in an email to employees that Apple's Product (RED) holiday campaign raised over $20 million for AIDS research, Business Insider reports: 

"I’m thrilled to announce that our total donation for this quarter will be more than $20 million — our biggest ever — bringing the total amount Apple has raised for (PRODUCT) RED to over $100 million. The money we’ve raised is saving lives and bringing hope to people in need. It’s a cause we can all be proud to support," Cook wrote. 

Watch a video for HRC's Project America campaign in Alabama, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Apple CEO Tim Cook Makes 'Substantial' Contribution To HRC Campaign Targeting His Home State Of Alabama" »


Gay, Bi, Transgender: The 80 Most Powerful Comings Out of 2014

Big

UPDATE: See the updated version of this post HERE!

"I think coming out...is really about coming out as your authentic self, coming out as the person you always knew you were but no one else may have known, and now you're sharing that honestly with people for the first time."

2014faces2Such is how Rodrigo Lehtinen, the trans son of Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, explained to CBS Miami last month what it meant for him to now be open about who he is.

It's as simple as that, whether you're gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer or some fluid combination of any of them. But it's certainly an act of courage in a world where LGBTQ people face obstacles in marriage, employment, and even basic acceptance. In many places, the status of being 'out' about one's sexual orientation or gender identity is dangerous, even life-threatening.

In 2014 thousands, perhaps millions of people came out all over the world. They all made a difference. The folks featured here are just a few who happened to make a big difference and caught our eye on Towleroad this year. Some are well-known, some are little-known: the CEO of the largest corporation in the world, an NFL player, a Kenyan literary figure, fashion models, the foreign minister of a Baltic state, country singers, Mormon pop stars, a few of the stars of your favorite television shows, and unknowns from the world of YouTube.

When it comes to coming out, 2014 was certainly the year of the athlete.

Of the 80 people on our list this year, more than 1/3 come from the sports world — football, baseball, boxing, tennis, long distance running, hurling, basketball, rowing, and diving. Many of these athletes are making a name for themselves in college sports, many in conservative places. Twenty-one come from the entertainment world. And they are from all over the world — Japan, Peru, Ireland, Uruguay, Brazil, Germany, Australia, Finland, Canada, Spain, Chile, and more... Also, the leader of a company worth more than all the world's airlines combined, worth more than the entire Russian stock market.

It's quite an impressive group of folks. We're proud of all of you. By choosing to come out as L, G, B, T, queer, or whatever label your sexual orientation or gender identity is telling you is yours, you've made life easier for all those who haven't come out yet, and all those who are currently struggling for their civil and human rights.

Please enjoy reading their stories. And share this post with your friends, family, and anyone in the closet to whom you'd like to offer a bit of courage or support.

 

Read on, AFTER THE JUMP...

Contributions to this post were made earlier this year by Kyler Geoffroy, Sean Mandell, Joseph Ehrman-Dupre, Steve Pep, Brian Sloan, Daniel Villareal, Anthony Costello, Jim Redmond, Charles Pulliam-Moore, Christian Walters, John Wright, and Jake Folsom.

Make sure not to miss a Towleroad headline by following @TLRD on Twitter.

Continue reading "Gay, Bi, Transgender: The 80 Most Powerful Comings Out of 2014" »


Alabama LGBT Non-Discrimination Bill to Be Named After Apple CEO Tim Cook

Alabama state Rep. Patricia Todd has announced her anti-discrimination bill protecting LGBT individuals from discrimination will be named after newly out Apple CEO Tim Cook, a native of the state.

Todd, the state's only openly gay lawmaker, said she had originally received a word of concern from Apple about Cook's name being attached to the measure but that the company later told her Cook would be pleased to have his name on the proposal, Reuters reports:

CookIn a statement provided to Reuters, Apple said: "Tim was honored to hear that State Rep. Todd wanted to name an anti-discrimination bill after him, and we're sorry if there was any miscommunication about it. We have a long history of support for LGBT rights and we hope every state will embrace workplace equality for all."

Todd said she hoped Cook could come to the legislature and speak on the bill's behalf, particularly its value in attracting business and talent to the state.

"We have extended the invitation to him, but he is a busy man and of course Apple comes first," she said. "I hope he can fit it into his schedule."

Todd plans on introducing the bill in the Alabama legislative session beginning in March. 

Prior to his coming out, Cook, in a speech before Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and other state officials, criticized the state for lagging behind on LGBT rights. 


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