Openly gay CEO of Apple Tim Cook delivered a passionate speech to a music festival benefitting LGBT youth.
“I stand before you tonight as an uncle, a sports nut, a CEO, a lover of the beautiful Utah outdoors, and a proud gay American,” Cook said audience members at LoveLoud, led by Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds.
The festival sold out with 30,000 attendees on July 28 at the Rice-Eccles stadium located in Salt Lake City, raising over $1 million for LGBT youth through organizations like The Trevor Project, the Tegan and Sara Foundation and more.
“I’ve come to deliver a simple message that I want every LGBTQ person to hear and to believe: You are a gift to the world, a unique and special gift just the way you are,” Cook continued. “Your life matters. To you I say, find your truth, speak your truth, live your truth.”
Reynolds, who was raised Mormon, created the event in response to anti-LGBT stances of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the quadrupling of LGBT suicides in Utah between 2007 and 2015.
“My heart breaks when I see kids struggling to conform to a society or a family that doesn’t accept them, struggling to be what someone else thinks is normal,” Cook said. “Let me tell you, normal might just be the worst word ever created. You’re not all supposed to be the same, feel the same, or think the same, and there is nothing wrong with you.”
He continued: “Now I know that life can be dark and heavy and sometimes it might seem unreasonable and unbearable, but just as night turns to day, know that darkness is always followed by night. You will feel more comfortable in your own skin, attitudes will change, life will get better, and you? You will thrive.”