Apple's Tim Cook has publicly come out as gay, saying he is proud and considers it "among the greatest gifts God has given me."
Writing in Businessweek, the chief executive said that while he has never denied his sexuality, he hadn’t publicly acknowledged it either.
"So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me," he wrote.
"Being gay has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be in the minority and provided a window into the challenges that people in other minority groups deal with every day. It’s made me more empathetic, which has led to a richer life," he added.
"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."
Cook has long been an advocate for LGBT rights, and gave a speech at his former university Auburn University last year in which he touched upon his own experience of discrimination.
He wrote a piece for the Wall Street Journal voicing his support for workplace equality, stating "At Apple, we try to make sure people understand that they don't have to check their identity at the door."
Earlier in the week he criticised his home state Alabama's lack of action over gay rights in a speech, saying that while we "can’t change the past, but we can learn from it, and we can create a different future.”
Within his essay, Cook admitted that to announce his coming out was not an easy choice.
"I don’t consider myself an activist, but I realise how much I’ve benefited from the sacrifice of others. So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy," he continued.
"I’ll admit that this wasn’t an easy choice. Privacy remains important to me, and I’d like to hold on to a small amount of it.
"When I arrive in my office each morning, I’m greeted by framed photos of Dr. King and Robert F. Kennedy. I don’t pretend that writing this puts me in their league. All it does is allow me to look at those pictures and know that I’m doing my part, however small, to help others. We pave the sunlit path toward justice together, brick by brick. This is my brick."