I came out 21 years ago. In my line of work as an actor and comedian, it has been one of the single best choices I have made for both my career and life. But I got to make that choice for myself. As I sat in that chair on national TV on the Geraldo Rivera Show and told the world my truth, I got to make that decision for myself. My work as an artist has been richer and I live a comfortable life as a human being.
This brings us to how Simon Hobbs mentioned Tim Cook the CEO of Apple as being gay. In a discussion on Friday, June 17 on CNBC's Squawk On The Street, the topic was how many CEOs from Fortune 500 companies are out in 2014. New York Times columnist James Stewart (not the dead actor) said that he reached out and was not able to find one CEO at any major company that would allow their names to be used for his piece on gay CEOs. The centerpiece of Stewart's piece was on former CEO of BP, Jim Browne, who recently wrote a book on his years of anguish and the difficulty of his choice to hide his sexual orientation at work. Hobbs piped in that Apple CEO, Tim Cook was openly out, then Hobbs immediately put his foot in his mouth over having created a discussion in the media unknowingly.
This poses many questions. Do we continue to treat gay people different from straight people in terms of speaking of their sexuality orientation? Does that change when someone is a high-ranking company official? Can this hurt their career? Do we still live in a time when a gay person will prevent us from buying and using their product? Does this mean big-time CEOs get to be treated differently from the guy who runs the local restaurant, who folks know is gay?
For me, as one man representing only myself, I no longer feel like I will be caught, outed and fired. Though I know that I've been fired and denied work because I am gay, I still would not go back to hiding in any way shape or form. I truly believe that I am better at what I do because I am who I am. I don't think you can reach the depth of your work when you are in the closet. But does that mean it's right for everyone? I can't answer that, for me it's a big yes. Does it make a difference to others? Personally I can say another big yes. Do others feel I am not doing enough or being too gay? Yes, all the time. So it does come with a lot of other loaded issues.
I personally think it was all right, when Mr. Hobbs, made the statement. And that it stems from his experience with Mr. Cook, whom he says is fairly open about being gay. That was his experience with him.
When you keep the "dirty secret," doesn't that hurt all of us more? Did Tim tell him to keep it a secret? I don't know. But otherwise I think we should all be treated equally by the press as our straight counterparts. I believe the homophobia must end with us. That's my two cents.