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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

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"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.

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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. 


Russian Steve Jobs Memorial Taken Down After Tim Cook Came Out Will Now Be Auctioned Off

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In 2013 the Western European Financial Union ZEFS erected a 6’6’’ iPhone-shaped memorial to Steve Jobs in St. Petersberg. The memorial stood for about a year in the courtyard of a local IT university campus before being taken down after Apple’s CEO Tim Cook came out as being gay. The Moscow Times is now reporting that ZEFS has chosen to auction off the interactive statue after a forum of the Union’s members overwhelmingly voted against reinstalling it. Bidding for the statue begins at 5 million rubles, or about $94,000.

The memorial was originally taken down the day after Tim Cook’s announcement and ZEFS chairman Maxim Dolgopolov was frank in his reasoning behind removing the interactive statue. In addition to concerns of American spying raised by Edward Snowden’s revelations, ZEFS found Apple’s support of its CEO, and its explicit support of gay rights, in clear violation of Russia’s homophobic “LGBT-propaganda” laws.

"After Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly called for sodomy, the monument was taken down to abide to the Russian federal law protecting children from information promoting denial of traditional family values," ZEFS said in a statement to Reuters.

In other news, the iPhone is selling quite well in Russia.


Apple Goes (RED) In Support of World AIDS Day

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Apple has begun to illuminate its iconic logo in red to highlight its participation in Product (RED) in time for World AIDS Day. The Cupertino-based company began its show of support in its Sydney flagship store yesterday, with stores across the world in Japan, China, Hong Kong, Europe, and the U.S. soon to follow suit. Founded by Bono and Shriver in 2006, (RED) is a licensed brand meant to raise awareness and financial support for HIV/AIDS awareness prevention program in Africa. Proceeds from the sale of Product (RED) branded goods contribute to the The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, which finances independent programs targeting those diseases.

The official number that Apple reports to have raised for Product (RED) is around $75 million dollars, but earlier this year Bono lashed out against Apple for being notoriously coy about its sales figures. Though Apple has participated in Product (RED) since 2006, this marks the second year that the computing giant has rolled out a fully-fledged campaign coordinated with the initiative.

Cook"This year, we are launching our biggest fundraising push yet with the participation of Apple’s retail and online stores,” recently out Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement. “Some of the brightest minds in the App Store are lending their talents to the effort, as well.”

In addition to special editions of iPods, iPads, and accessories, Apple is rolling out Product (RED) applications that, while non-physical, will contribute to the campaign in the same way.

“For eight years, our customers have been helping fight AIDS in Africa by funding life-saving treatments, which are having a profoundly positive impact, "Cook said. “Apple is a proud supporter of (RED) because we believe the gift of life is the most important gift anyone can give.”


Procter & Gamble Comes Out In Support Of Same-Sex Marriage - VIDEO

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For the first time in its history, Cincinnati-based consumer products group Procter & Gamble (P&G) is openly supporting same-sex marriage, reports Cincinnati.com.

This may not be great news for right wing anti-gay zealots. Tony Perkins, the leader of listed hate group Family Research Council, last week hinted at a possible boycott of Apple after CEO Tim Cook came out.

Procter & Gamble says that it has embraced LGBT employees for more than 20 years and same-sex marriage has become an important enough issue to its workers that it is taking a public stand.

Deborah P. Majoras, P&G's chief legal officer and executive sponsor to GABLE, the company's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender-allied employee group, said:

"We have always supported our employees and fostered a culture of inclusion and respect – this includes the right to marry whomever they choose and to have that union legally recognized.”

William Gipson, P&G's chief global diversity officer, added that being LGBT-inclusive is “not a political statement, but a statement of support for our employees."

P&G’s announcement of its support for same-sex marriage comes a week after the city of Cincinnati won top score for inclusion by Human Rights Campaign (HRC). P&G also received a perfect score this year from HRC for its inclusion policies.

Terry Kelly, principal and investment adviser at Cincinnati-based investment management firm Bartlett, said that although P&G's latest stand could anger some consumers, the company has already weighed those risks.

Back in 2007, P&G supported the first kiss between two same-sex teenagers on soap As The World Turnswhich you can watch AFTER THE JUMP...

Back in August, advocacy group the Bilerico Project called on people to boycott P&G, the biggest television advertiser in Russia. P&G was also a Worldwide Olympic Partner and a sponsor of the controversial 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

Continue reading "Procter & Gamble Comes Out In Support Of Same-Sex Marriage - VIDEO" »


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