Apple CEO Tim Cook openly discussed his homosexuality in a piece published in Bloomberg Businessweek Thursday, although he admitted the decision wasn't an easy one.

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"While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven't publicly acknowledged it either, until now. 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.

The 53-year-old said many friends and colleagues are aware of his sexuality and it hasn't made a difference in their relationship.

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"Of course, I've had the good fortune to work at a company that loves creativity and innovation and knows it can only flourish when you embrace people's differences. Not everyone is so lucky," he said. "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."

Cook, who is now the most significant gay male executive in the corporate world, acknowledged the strides made for the gay community in America. For example, 32 states have legalized same-sex marriage. Yet, there's still a long way to go.

"Still, there are laws on the books in a majority of states that allow employers to fire people based solely on their sexual orientation. There are many places where landlords can evict tenants for being gay, or where we can be barred from visiting sick partners and sharing in their legacies," Cook said. "Countless people, particularly kids, face fear and abuse every day because of their sexual orientation."

In his essay, Cook also praised Apple for advocating for human rights and said the company will continue to do so. "And I will personally continue to advocate for equality for all people until my toes point up," he added.

Read Cook's full essay here.

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