(MSNBC) -- Apple CEO Tim Cook made history last week, becoming the first Fortune 500 CEO to break through the steel ceiling of heterosexual privilege in the business world when he disclosed in Businessweek that he is “proud to be gay.” Despite Cook’s insistence that he has long been open with many people about his sexual orientation, his decision to invite the public into an otherwise private area of his life rightly deserves praise as some commentators have noted. However, the same factors which make Cook’s “coming-out” appear exceptional and noteworthy are the very features, privileges actually, which are absented in the lives of so many LGBT people. For some, it literally pays to be gay. But for so many others, coming out costs.
Cook is a multi-millionaire. He was number 19 on Forbes’ 2013 The World’s Most Powerful People list, placing him among 71 others “who rule the world.” According to Forbes, Cook was paid $4.2 million in 2012.